Scroll stances

Drawing by Isaac Stewart

Sketchbook shardplate

From Shallan's sketchbook
Drawing by Ben McSweeney

There are ten basic stances - or sword forms - of swordsmanship, one for each of the Ten Essences[1] used by Shardbearers when dueling and in battle. Each is intended to execute a specific holding pattern and follow-through. The stances are more a philosophy than a predefined set of moves.[1] An experienced Shardbearer will know them all and utilize them both to invite and repel a response from his/her opponent and, ultimately, to defeat him/her, thereby winning that opponent's Shardblade, Shardplate or both.


A stance for someone who didn't care if he got hit.[2]


Quick and flexible, better for shorter Shardblades. However, a weakness of this form is its one-handed posture.[1]


The Shardbearer's Blade is held two-handed, up beside his/her head.[1]


Better with an imperfect weapon, the form was executed with one foot forward, one foot behind, sword held forward with the tip toward an opponent's heart. Remaining in motion was the essence of Smokestance. It embodied a sword and knife form and a whirlwind of blows. It was practiced and precise.[3]


In this stance, a Shardblade was held before the Bearer in two hands, pointed toward the sky, the arms all the way extended.[4] The Shardbearer needed to be focused on delivering the most possible momentum and strength behind each strike.[4] Stonestance was one of the few to rely on parrying posture and to be immobile when necessary.[4][5]


A slow and steady form, but with sudden, quick lunges; a style of fighting focused on defensive footing and flexibility.[5]


Considered to be the best stance against many foes at once, the Shardbearer holds the Blade in front of him/herself with elbows bent, positioned sideways with one foot forward, sword's tip pointing up and backward. It was flowing, sweeping, majestic.[1][5]


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