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The singers are a sapient species on Roshar,[1][2] which humans called the 'parsh'[3] or parshmen.[4] One such group of singers are the listeners.

Singers communicate through special rhythms and can bond various spren which change their forms.

Singers predate humanity on Roshar.[5] Around the time of the Recreance,[6] many of the singers had each their Connection and Identity stolen; pieces of their souls ripped away.[7] This made those singers docile and subservient, which humans called parshmen and used as slaves for millennia later.[8] With the advent of the Everstorm, these singers were healed and restored.[7]

GendersEdit

The singers have four distinct genders, two that are recognised as similar to human male and female, and two neutered variants, malen and femalen.[9] The majority of the forms are populated by the neutered genders, and their members are often asexual.[10][11]

There exists a group of singers identifying as a fifth, nonbinary gender.[12]

PhysiologyEdit

Singers, like many Rosharan fauna, have gemhearts. Theirs are clouded white, and are fused to their sternum.[13] Like other creatures with gemhearts, singers also bond with spren, with that bonded spren residing in the singer's gemheart.[14]

Singers grow faster than humans but have slightly shorter lifespans.[15]

FormsEdit

Main article: Listener Forms

By staying out in a highstorm (or the Everstorm)[14] with a spren, singers are capable of bonding with said spren, which has the effect of changing their forms, which - in turn - alters their physical appearance and mental capabilities. When a singer changes forms, the spren used for the previous form is released.[16] Singers can maintain their form indefinitely, without needing to resupply with a highstorm or Stormlight.[17]

The listeners recounted many common forms in the Song of Listing, of which they only had access to only a small subset. They also have songs which sang of dangerous forms of power in the Song of Secrets and the Song of Winds.

There is also slaveform, which is the lack of any form, into which most singers were locked for centuries, until the Everstorm arrived and the True Desolation began.

Common FormsEdit

These forms are mentioned in the listener Song of Listing. After the Recreance, and before the True Desolation, when the only singers who could think were the listeners, the listeners discovered only five forms: dullform, mateform, warform, workform, and nimbleform. When the Everstorm arrived and 'healed' singers who didn't hold these forms, singers who did hold these forms - and other common forms the listeners could not reproduce, such as artform and scholarform - had a "dozen" options.[18]

Forms of PowerEdit

Many singer forms are considered by the listeners to be forms of power. For a singer to gain one of these forms, they must bond with a Voidspren.[18] Singers wearing a form of power are referred to Regals in the context of Odium's army.[18] Forms of power are intoxicating to those first come into one,[19] and give access to new Rhythms, but drown old, common rhythms.[citation needed]

Forms of power include: stormform, nightform, smokeform, decayform, and envoyform.

SlaveformEdit

Main article: Slaveform

GodsEdit

Our gods were born splinters of a soul,
Of one who seeks to take control,
Destroys all lands that he beholds, with spite.
They are his spren, his gift, his price.
But the nightforms speak of future life,
A challenged champion. A strife even he must requite.

–From the Listener Song of Secrets, final stanza[20]

Upon returning to Dalinar's army after his defection, Shen - now Rlain - speaks to Dalinar of the Parshendi's gods:

They are the souls of those ancient. Those who gave of themselves to destroy. [21]
They hate you and your kind, sir. This new form they have given my people ... it is something terrible. It will bring something terrible.[21]

SongsEdit

Main article: Listener Songs

RhythmsEdit

Main article: Listener Rhythms

HistoryEdit

Singers predate humanity on Roshar[5] but both races existed prior to the Shattering. After the Expulsion, where mankind destroyed the Tranquiline Halls, ancient singers were ordered by gods - perhaps Honor and Cultivation - to help the human refugees to Roshar.[5] These ancient singers were the Dawnsingers.

At one point in their history, singers interbred with humans, creating the modern day Herdazians and Unkalaki (i.e., Horneaters).[citation needed]

Humans used powers the singers were forbidden to touch, powers involving spren and Surges.[citation needed] However, humans also brought Odium with them, and the singers called these ancient humans the Voidbringers. Humans were granted the lands of Shinovar, but they eventually expanded outward, and fought the singers. This original conflict was the First Desolation, with humans on the side of Odium.

According to the listener Song of Histories, after the singers felt spren betrayed them, the listeners turned to other gods (this song, however, could be warped to history). The exact timeline is not clear, but at some stage, there were souls of ancient singers, valiant soldiers at that time, that had been granted great power from Odium to fight against humans.[22] The power from Odium made them into Cognitive Shadows and allowed these ancient singers to be reborn in singer bodies, creating the Fused.[22] The Fused came to rule the singers. The Fused ultimately despise humanity and want them wiped off Roshar, even if it requires the destruction of Roshar.[22]

To stop the Fused from being reborn, Honor chose ten humans to be the Heralds, and the Heralds imprisoned the Fused on Braize. The Fused tortured the Heralds until one Herald relented, which allowed the Fused to return to Roshar. When a Herald gave in, that started a Desolation. The Desolations continued for an unknown amount of time, nearly destroying humanity many times. Eventually, at Aharietiam - the Last Desolation - every Herald, except Taln, abandoned their Oathpact and kept the Fused at bay for the next four and a half millennia.

The singers, no longer the dominant species on Roshar, continued to fight humanity and the Knights Radiant. Around two thousand years after the Last Desolation, near the Recreance, there was the False Desolation.[23] The Unmade, Ba-Ado-Mishram, Connected with the singers and provided them forms of power and Voidlight as Odium once did in the Desolations.[24] The Knights Radiant sought to stop this threat by imprisoning Ba-Ado-Mishram. They succeeded but in doing so, stole part of singers souls, ripping out their Connection and Identity.[7][6] These singers no longer had a form and were termed 'slaveforms'.

Some singers who threw off the Fused and freed themselves (i.e., the listeners) were spared from this event, perhaps not Connecting with Ba-Ado-Mishram. The listeners became the only singers with their minds intact for millennia. They eventually formed the Parshendi nation around Narak before meeting with the Alethi and starting the War of Reckoning. The rest of the singers, however, were all essentially mindless, which the humans used as slave labor.

Later, the listeners, manipulated by Voidspren, entered stormform, one of the forms of power. In doing so, the listeners summoned a great storm at the Battle of Narak. The Everstorm, full of Odium's power, passed through the world and restored the slaveform singers Connection and Identity, thereby healing them.

These healed singers exemplified traits of the culture in which they had lived all their lives. The Azish singers submitted a complaint to the government, while Thaylen singers stole ships and sailed away.[citation needed] These singers can remember their lives before they were healed. Sah, a singer whom both Kaladin and Moash met, remembers his wife taken from him and his anger at the event.[7] These singers, though conscripted into Odium's forces, are generally reluctant to fight, though they hate their enslavement.[citation needed]

NotesEdit

For real world examples from which Brandon drew for Parshendi singing, he stated that he used Hindu chants in his head.[25]

TriviaEdit

  • Singers were not made by Honor,[26] Cultivation,[27] or Odium,[28] but were created as part of Roshar's ecosystem.[29]
  • The singer gods are similar to the Heralds.[30]
  • The ten spren involved with the Knights Radiant don't accept bonds with singers because of some events in the past.[31]
  • Slaveform given Breath may become more cognizant.[32]
  • Hemalurgy can be used to replicate the transformation of the Forms.[33]
  • Soothers can affect singer Rhythms and may dampen Odium's influence.[34]
  • If a singer was able to access bronze Allomancy, they would find the pulses heard by a Seeker to be "somewhat familiar but a little odd".[35]
  • Singers can receive a boon/curse from the Nightwatcher.[36]

ReferencesEdit

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