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]

Warning Book Spoiler: Significant plot details follow.

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.[3]

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

–Syl to Kaladin[3]

Physical AppearanceEdit


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."[4]


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.


  • Shallan to Pattern: Initially, as a child, she sees her father's strongbox glowing brightly, thinking there was a monster inside it.[5] 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.[5] Later, Shallan sees Cryptics in her drawings.[4] Then, she sees only Pattern as she is set on her path toward becoming a Lightweaver.[citation needed]
  • Elhokar, to ?: Peripherally, he sees them in mirrors, believing them to be assassins.[6] It remains in question whether he too will become a Lightweaver.