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Vasher With NightBlood

Vasher with Nightblood
Fan art by Castaguer93[1]

Biographical information
Race Returned[1]
Ethnicity Idrian[2]
Nationality Nalthian[3]
Gender Male
Status Alive
Abilities Awakener, Worldhopper,
Spren sense, life sense
Physical Description
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Brown
Social Information
Aliases Zahel, Vasher, Kalad the Usurper, Strifelover, Peacegiver the Blessed, Talaxin, Warbreaker the Peaceful
Title(s) Sword Master, Scholar (as in one of the Five Scholars)[4]
Family Shashara (wife, deceased),
Denth (brother-in-law, deceased)
Occupation Ardent
Appears in Warbreaker, Words of Radiance, Oathbringer, Rhythm of War

Zahel is an ardent, yet a reclusive warrior who taught both Adolin and Renarin[5] - plus Kaladin - how to use a Shardblade, and was also Azure's swordmaster.[6] He is the Worldhopper, Vasher, from Nalthis.[7]

He went to Roshar because he knew ahead of time, that one could get Stormlight (i.e., Investiture) there, and how easy it was. So he made his way there because he was tired of sucking people's souls to stay alive.[8]


Vasher is described as a big man with a scraggly, half-scrub, half-beard, not too long, but not too trimmed either. He wears torn, ragged clothing, patched in places, nothing bright ... but nothing really dark either. Just kind of bland ... yet clean nonetheless. (Vasher has the resources to get new clothing, yet he chooses to wear worn and tattered clothing instead.)[9]

His voice is deep, thick, often quiet, gruff, and accented ... and he has a well-muscled, rather hairy torso.[10]

He is further described as having ancient eyes.[5]


Vasher zirael art

Fan art by zirael[2]

Zahel is a man of two personalities: one, " ... a grouchy swordsman who has a soft spot for kids who are in over their heads," and two, " ... a very grouchy swordsman who finds everyone and everything utterly contemptible." Nevertheless, he hates 'beating up' those younger than himself. This makes him feel like a bully.[11]

Zahel is a reluctant instructor. While ostensibly an ardent, he is not devout and does not appear to consider himself to be a member of the ardentia. He has respect for those whom he finds to be humble and with whom it is easy for him to work.[citation needed]

He misses his home but hates reminders of it; he makes many comments on how old he is and how that can easily put him in a bad mood.[12]

On numerous occasions, Zahel has used metaphors and expressions centering around colors[12] (color being one of the limitations to power in Warbreaker) and flowers (potentially referencing the Tears of Edgli: flowers from which are produced dyes in Warbreaker), generally confusing other characters with whom he interacts.

As Vasher, he admits that he doesn't have an ability with words. That he doesn't really like people. He has trouble talking to them as he gets frustrated and snaps at them. He realizes that this doesn't make him very popular, but he doesn't lie to them. Neither does he have connections with important people.[13]

Vasher has been determined to be rough, brutal, and that he has a terrible temper ... but he is a good man.[14]

For a man who holds a king's fortune in Breaths, Vasher is surprisingly frugal. He is also a solitary person. There is no guile in him and he wears no false mask.[15]


Vasher is several hundred years old and is one of the only remaining Five Scholars.[16] All of the other Returned were told that giving away each their Divine Breath was destiny. Vasher knows better and knows it's a game.

Zahel has a hard time sleeping at night because he has a rough time with a lot of different things, many of which would give rise to a bounty depending on who's offering the bounty.[17]

He heard of larkins, and is happy that they're all supposedly extinct as they would kill him.[18]

He can get a little drunk, but maybe not as much as he would want to.[19]


That Vasher is a Returned means the following:

1. He must consume one normal Breath per week.

2. He has one Divine Breath granted by Endowment.

3. This Divine Breath grants him the effects of the Fifth Heightening.

4. If he ever runs out of Breath, he dies instantly.

5. He becomes a Drab twice during the course of Warbreaker; once at the beginning when he's in a cell, and once at the end after he's done fighting.

6. He spends the majority of Warbreaker without the color aura of the Fifth Heightening.[20]


Vasher believes that when one duels or fights, one can't let anger control oneself. He also believes that a warrior is supposed to be calm. (This is why he's never been that good a duelist.) Further, he believes that BioChroma can keep a man alive a long time.[21]



Fan art by botanicaxu[3]

Zahel has been confirmed to be native to the world, Nalthis. He appears in Warbreaker with the name Vasher, but is otherwise known by the nickname "Tax" for Talaxin. During the height of his power, Vasher only managed to Awaken metal on a few select occasions.[22]

Prior to the events in Warbreaker, Vasher knew that he'd been away from Nalthis for far too long. However, he'd also known that there was no way he would've come back sooner. He'd betrayed his closest friend (Denth) and killed the woman (Shashara - his wife and Denth's sister) who loved him.[23]

In Warbreaker, he is questioned by guards who wonder if he is some kind of nobleman. They then confiscate his Awakened sword, Nightblood, completely unaware of the consequences of doing so ... though Vasher knows.[24]

Later, Vasher absorbs the Breaths of the rebel, Vahr, and then kills him with an Awakened scarf.[25]

According to Denth, there are no coincidences where Vasher is concerned.[26]

Vasher has accomplished more in his life than a hundred men, and has done more for the good of all people than they will ever appreciate.[27]


Vasher is in possession of a lot of Breath, yet knows well how to hide this; he stores Breath in his clothing[28] where it can't be sensed by those also possessing the First Heightening.[29] He is able to perform three Commands in one Awakening, which is a difficult task for some, but for him it is as simple as blinking.[30]


Awakening is something that Vasher has done for a very, very long time ... yet he always has trouble trying to explain it to someone else. Even so, he is relaxed and conversational as he gets into the topic.[31]


Nightblood was created by Vasher and his then wife, Shashara. Later, and with cause, Vasher used Nightblood to slay Shashara.[32]

Nightblood is the sword that is given to Szeth, by Nale, at the end of Words of Radiance.[33] Zahel has yet to encounter Szeth with the sword.

Nightblood later tells Szeth that he thinks like Vasher, then asks him if he knows Vasher. He says that Vasher teaches swords to people now, which is funny because Denth always said Vasher wasn't any good with the sword.[34]


Vasher DB

Polish cover art for Warbreaker by Dominik Broniek[4]

After Lightsong granted Susebron - the God King - his Breaths and Vasher then encountered him, Vasher closed his eyes, didn't speak, didn't use his Breath or make a Command, yet suddenly started to glow ... and with an aura that made colors brighter. Subsequently, Vasher increased in size, opened his eyes, and adjusted the wrap at his waist to make room for his growth. His chest became more firm and the scruffy beard on his face retreated, leaving him clean-shaven. His hair turned golden and he seemed divine. Susebron dropped to one knee and addressed Vasher as his lord. Shortly thereafter, Vasher revealed that he was both Kalad and Peacegiver. Later, he expressed that he couldn't remember the time before he Returned, but that the name he'd been given was Warbreaker the Peaceful.[35]



Trained by a Master
Artwork by Ari Ibarra[5]

Zahel has been slumming it on Roshar for quite some time, because there's a large amount of free Investiture there to fuel his Returned body. His knowledge of the cosmere is demonstrated by his use of the term Investiture when describing the highstorms of Roshar.[11]

Zahel becomes Renarin's weapons master as he teaches the members of Bridge Four how to fight with Shardblades. In training Renarin how to move in Shardplate, Zahel instructs him to jump off the roof of one of the training ground buildings. Once Renarin has completed this task, Zahel tells him to do it again. "This time, fall headfirst!"[5]



Azure, as Vivenna, is missed by Zahel, as Vasher.[36]


Zahel and Hoid have met.[37]


Kalad's Phantoms were an army created by Vasher, then known as Kalad the Usurper.[38]

Brandon thinks that Vasher was the first one in any book he allowed to use cosmere-aware terms for speaking of things like the magics. (Investiture is one of these.)[39]

Nightblood has less an effect on Vasher in general than on other people, but there's some other stuff going on with Vasher.[40]

According to Brandon, Zahel is pretty sure where Nightblood is.[41]

Also according to Brandon, Vasher could probably beat anyone alive in a fair swordfight.[42]


Might Zahel try to reclaim Nightblood from Szeth? It seems likely that Zahel is going to be tracking him down, then confronting Szeth. Will it be an epic clash of swordsmanship between the Assassin in White and the swordmaster who trained Adolin, one of the greatest duelists in history?

But then, when he - Zahel - gets there, it might not be that at all; Szeth might just be a bystander.

It might just be an emotional clash between a broken, ancient man and his twisted progeny - his child, his creation into which he literally Breathed life - that he loves and hates and blames for the death of his lover, and the woman's voice he still longs to hear.[43]

Q&A with Brandon[]

Q. Does Vasher need to take any special precautions (compared to the rest of the year on Roshar) to ensure that he survives the Weeping?

A.Yes, but it is not too difficult. Larger gemstones last longer in the time between highstorms.[44]

Q. How will the Everstorm affect Vasher?

A. Vasher will probably just hide, but it signals something bad for him ... .[45]

Q. Does Zahel know what Fused are because of his BioChromatic vision? Or has he studied them in some other way?

A. I would say both. More the "he's studied what they are and learned about them." He has certain sensory things that definitely give him some advantages, for various reasons. But I would say he's leaning more on his previous experience than he is on those senses.[46]

Q. If Kaladin wasn't in the arena in Words of Radiance, would Zahel have intervened to help Adolin?

A. I will RAFO that, but a different kind of RAFO - in that I don't think Zahel himself knows what he would do in that situation. The better part of him would want to have, but he is not living his best life right now, shall we say. He is not living up to his potential, and he knows it. And so would he have? He should have. But would be have? Good question. Even he doesn't ... I don't think that he could answer.[47]


  1. Returned
  2. Idrian
  3. Book signing, Manchester, UK, 8/6/14
  4. Five Scholars
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Words of Radiance, 18. Bruises
  6. Oathbringer, 93. Kata
  7. Book signing, San Francisco, CA, 3/6/14
  8. Arcanum Unbounded release party, Provo, UT, 11/22/16
  9. Warbreaker Introduction
  10. Warbreaker Introduction
  11. 11.0 11.1 Words of Radiance, Inter6.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Words of Radiance, 81. The Last Day
  13. Warbreaker Introduction
  14. Warbreaker Introduction
  15. Warbreaker Introduction
  16. Warbreaker Annotations, 6/24/10
  17. JordanCon 2018, Atlanta, GA, 4/20/18
  18. Starsight Release Party, Orem, UT, 11/26/19
  19. YouTube Spoiler Stream 4, 6/16/22
  20. Still alive?
  21. Warbreaker Introduction
  22. Warbreaker Introduction
  23. Warbreaker Introduction
  24. Warbreaker Introduction
  25. Warbreaker Introduction
  26. Warbreaker Introduction
  27. Warbreaker Introduction
  28. Warbreaker Introduction
  29. Heightening
  30. Annotation Warbreaker Ch. 51
  31. Warbreaker Introduction
  32. Annotation Warbreaker Ch. 26
  33. Words of Radiance, 88. The Man Who Owned The Winds
  34. Oathbringer, 98. Loopholes
  35. Warbreaker Introduction
  36. Oathbringer release party, Provo, UT, 11/13/17
  37. Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A, 8/13/14
  38. Warbreaker, Ch. 7
  39. Vasher/Shardblades/Nightblood
  40. iCon 2019, Tel Aviv, Israel, 10/15/19
  41. Book signing, Prague, Czechia, 10/26/19
  42. Rhythm of War Preview Q&As, 7/28/20
  43. Nightblood
  44. When Worlds Collide 2014, Calgary, AB, 8/9/14
  45. Arcanum Unbounded release party, Provo, UT, 11/22/16
  46. Forbidden Planet Interview, 11/18/20
  47. YouTube Spoiler Stream 2, 6/3/21