Gif by Glyph Rambleman

Biographical information
Race Spren
Ethnicity Unknown
Nationality Shadesmar
Gender Male
Status Alive
Abilities Nahel bonding, affording Surgebinding
Social Information
Title(s) Cryptic, Liespren
Occupation Lightweaverspren
Appears in The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, Oathbringer

Pattern is the name Shallan gives to the Cryptic spren with whom she bonds. He says his real name is a series of numbers and agrees to Pattern as being sufficient enough a name.[1]

Pattern's bond with Shallan grants her the Surges of Illumination and Transformation.


Sketchbook pattern

Artwork from Shallan's sketchbook
Drawing by Ben McSweeney

Shallan initially describes Pattern as " ... a sequence of complex lines with sharp angles and arrowhead shapes." She then describes him to Jasnah as a pattern of sharp lines, like a maze, impossibly formed on the surface of a wave in the water in which they were sailing on the Wind's Pleasure.[2]

Raised, like an embossing, it had a complex pattern with a haunting symmetry. Its tiny lines twisted and turned through its mass, somehow lifting the surface of the wood, like iron scrollwork under a taut tablecloth.[3]

Pattern appears as a complex three-dimensional scribble capable of sliding and floating around, occasionally lying flat in a two-dimensional pattern, often adhering to Shallan's dress. He can take the form of an illusion Shallan creates, a venture he seems to enjoy when given the chance.[3][4]


Pattern exm

Fan art by exmakina[1]

Pattern's personality progression is similar to that of Sylphrena, whence he goes from a primitive, non-communicative state to being able to put together more and more complex thoughts to being able to understand abstract communication.

As he does so, Pattern seems to be a scholarly and excitable spren, exulting in finding truths, lies, and understanding new concepts. Upon discovering sarcasm and humor, he seemed to latch on to those two styles of communications quickly, soon mimicking Shallan's sometimes inappropriate wit.[4]

With regard to his sarcasm, Pattern states ...

"Insults in particular will be of great use to my people, as they are truths and lies combined in a quite interesting manner." [5]

Still ...

"I know ... little of humans," Pattern said. "They break. Their minds break. You did not break. Only cracked."

She continued her washing.

"It is the lies that save you," Pattern said. "The lies that drew me." [1]

In stating as much, Pattern acknowledged that he was obviously drawn to Shallan for very specific reasons.


Pattern believes that humans do not understand patterns. He does not understand sleep, nor does he truly understand scholarship.[4]

"I find sleeping very odd," Pattern said. "I know that all beings in the Physical Realm engage in it. Do you find it pleasant? You fear nonexistence, but is not unconsciousness the same thing?"

"With sleep, it's only temporary."

"Ah. It is all right, because in the morning, you each return to sentience."

"Well, that depends on the person," Shallan said absently. "For many of them, 'sentience' might be too generous a term ... ."

Pattern hummed, trying to sort through to the meaning of what she said. Finally, he buzzed an approximation of a laugh.[4]


Pattern jariv

Fan art by jariv[2]

Shallan likely experienced a traumatic incident before the tragedy with her mother that caused her soul to "crack", allowing the Nahel bond with Pattern to form. Pattern likely was fully conscious during those days, as he was clearly able to come to Shallan's aid when her mother tried to kill her.[6] Pattern's intelligence likely dipped when Shallan stopped Surgebinding for so many years and learned to block out those memories, weakening her bond with him and only returning when she learned to accept her powers as a Surgebinder.

Shallan first consciously remembers seeing Pattern on her sketchpad. He rises from the page like an embossing. When Shallan went to feel the ridges on the page, Pattern moved, frightening her. Next, she saw him in the water, formed on the surface of a wave.[2] Later, she saw him on the cabin wall beside her bunk on the Wind's Pleasure.[3] Since then, she's seen him from the corner of her eye, appearing in the grain of wood, the cloth on the back of a sailor's shirt. Each time, when she looked right at him, he vanished. Jasnah indicated to her that 'it' was likely harmless.[3]

Shallan soon realizes that Pattern is one of the "symbolheads" she'd seen before. Looking directly at him, he begins to fade, but she takes a Memory of him, then applies her charcoal pencil to paper, yet quickly switches to pen and ink for crisper, sharper lines.[3]

Still, Pattern's complex repetitions twist down into infinity. She realizes that a pen could never capture this 'thing' perfectly. She draws him spiraling out of a center point, then re-creates each branch off the center, which has its own swirl of tiny lines.[3]

When she finishes, the pattern rises before her and she hears a distinct sigh from the paper, as if in relief. Her drawn pattern then leaves the paper and moves onto the floor. Then, 'it' came to the leg of her cot, wrapped around it, and climbed upward and onto her blanket. He was an exact form beneath the blanket.[3]

To Shallan, 'it' didn't look dangerous, but she trembled nonetheless. This pattern was different from the symbolheads in her drawings, but it was also the same somehow. To her, this was a flattened-out version, without torso or limbs.[3]

It was an abstraction of one of them, just as a circle with a few lines in it could represent a human's face on the page.[3]


When Shallan sees Pattern in Shadesmar, he is in the form of one of the robed, symbolhead figures (i.e., a Cryptic) that she had seen in earlier visions. This would appear to be Pattern's 'true' form.[citation needed]


Pattern has been with Shallan since she was a young girl.[7] He became the Shardblade she used to kill her mother and her mother's lover when her mother tried to kill her. In the aftermath, Pattern is present, perceived by Shallan to be glowing from the cracks within her father's strongbox. She also perceives Pattern as a monster during this time.[8]

Pattern is attracted to lies. It is one reason he's attracted to Shallan; her 'delicious' lies. But he also knows that for Shallan to become the person she is meant to be - with him, that she must accept all of who she now is ... and was.[7][4]

"Shallan," Pattern said, moving closer to her. "I know that you have forgotten much of what once was. Those lies attracted me. But you cannot continue like this; you must admit the truth about me. About what I can do, and what we have done. Mmm ... More, you must know yourself. And remember."


"You wish to help," Pattern said. "You wish to prepare for the Everstorm, the spren of the unnatural one. You must become something. I did not come to you merely to teach you tricks of light."

"You came to learn," Shallan said, staring at her map. "That’s what you said."

"I came to learn. We became to do something greater."

"Would you have me unable to laugh?" she demanded, suddenly holding back tears. "Would you have me crippled? That is what those memories would do to me. I can be what I am because I cut them off."


"Mmmm ... Such a deep lie," Pattern whispered. "A deep lie indeed. But still, you must obtain your abilities. Learn again if you have to."[4]

Pattern says that he has always existed. Further, that spren are not 'born' as men are, and cannot truly die as men do. He says that patterns are eternal, as is fire, as is the wind, are all spren. Still, he says that he was not in this state when the Knights Radiant existed. That he was not aware. Even so, he says that he was ... everything. In everything. Yet, he cannot fully explain it because language is insufficient; he would need numbers.[9]

Further, he tells Shallan that she will eventually betray her oaths, thereby breaking his mind, leaving him dead. But, he says, the opportunity is worth the cost. That his kind are too static. That they always change, but only in the same way, over and over.[10]

Additionally, he tells her that in coming to this world of hers, he had to give up many things. That the transition was traumatic. He explains that his memory returns slowly, but that he is pleased at the chance.Missing parameters

Pattern's insistence that Shallan reclaim herself and her abilities finally hits home. Shallan eventually does reclaim her past and, in so doing, realizes that by summoning her living Shardblade and ramming it into the slot of the Oathgate's operating mechanism, she is able to discern the procedure for making the Oathgate 'work'.[11]

He formed in her hands, the Blade she'd used to kill. The hidden soul.[11]

Pattern knows that in order to fully be the Lightweaver she is meant to be, Shallan must have spoken the First Ideal of the Knights Radiant (which she did, several years ago), then speak only truths.[12][13]

"Lightweavers make no oaths beyond the first ... . You must speak truths." [13]

Being that Shallan is somewhat vexed by that which she accepted of her past, Pattern tells her that he understands why she hates him; that he didn't mean to help help her kill her mother, but that it is what he did.[14]

"It's all right," Shallan said in a hushed voice as the wind died down. "Just ... just let me draw."

"Mmm ... " Pattern said. "A powerful lie ... "[14]


Pattern has the ability to mimic voices perfectly, which he uses to save Shallan from being killed by Tyn. He can also manipulate locks.[15][16]

He has the ability to read ancient languages - such as Dawnchant - as they are written in a "pattern" according to him.[17]

However, he is unable to hide his presence completely or to disappear completely like other spren, despite that his presence is limited in the Physical Realm. This probably underlies why he doesn't retain Stormlight well.[18] (Stormlight is meant to be contained by appropriate physical objects or entities.)

Pattern isn't like dead-spren Shardblades; he can be summoned more quickly than each their requisite ten heartbeats.[19]


Possibly the best ever representation of Pattern is here.


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