Illustration by Isaac Stewart

The Heralds are servants of the Almighty worshiped in Vorinism. They were once considered deities by the people during the Heraldic Epochs, and are still revered in Vorin Kingdoms. Bound by the Oathpact, they would come from Damnation to fight the Desolations and then return for millennia of torture until the next Desolation. They founded the orders of the Knights Radiant to protect mankind against the Voidbringers.

The Heralds were once men and women, though they've died many times and are now what are known as Cognitive Shadows. They are not Shards, like Honor. In local religions, they're more like saints than gods.

"The Heralds were sent to teach mankind," Lirin said. "They led us against the Voidbringers after we were cast from heaven. The Radiants were the orders of knights they founded."[1]

Eventually, following a victory in yet another Desolation and weighed down by the prospect of millennia of torture, nine Heralds chose to abandon their self-appointed burden, hoping that Talenel'Elin might be enough to uphold the Oathpact. They told the people that mankind had finally won; thus, the event was known for the past 4,500 years as the Last Desolation or Aharietiam in Vorinism.

The Heralds carried Honorblades, which were much like modern Shardblades, but far more powerful. It is not known what became of the nine Heralds who abandoned the Oathpact. However, it was confirmed that Shalash was seen in The Way of Kings.[2]


There are ten Heralds; five male and five female. Each represents an Ideal and is associated with one of the ten Essences, numbers, gemstones, body focuses, Soulcasting properties, primary and secondary divine attributes, and Orders of Knights Radiant.[3]

# Number Herald Primary/Sec Divine Attribute Image
1 Jes Jezrien Protecting Leading King image
2 Nan Nalan (Nale) Just Confident Hooded man
3 Chach Chanarach (Chana) Brave Obedient Woman with something akin to a helmet
4 Vev Vedel Loving Healing Hooded woman
5 Palah Paliah (Pali) Learned Giving Woman with hair going all directions
6 Shash Shalash (Ash) Creative Honest Woman with large jewel on forehead
7 Betab Battar Wise Careful Woman with band around head, over hair
8 Kak Kalak (Kelek) Resolute Builder Man with uncovered hair, long bangs
9 Tanat Talenel (Taln) Dependable Resourceful Helmed man
10 Ishi Ishar Pious Guiding Old man with long beard

In the present day, the Heralds are apparently going mad. In the Prologue of Words of Radiance, Jasnah overhears Nale and Kalak speaking with one another:

"I'm worried about Ash."

"You're worried about everything."

"She's getting worse," the voice continued. "We weren't supposed to get worse. Am I getting worse? I think I feel worse."

"Shut up."

"I don't like this. What we've done is wrong. That creature carries /my lord's/ own Blade. We shouldn't have let him keep it. He - "

The two passed through the intersection ahead of Jasnah. They were ambassadors from the West, including the Azish man with the white birthmark on his cheek. ...

The Azish man, the one dressed in black and silver, stopped and looked her up and down.[4]


So, every Herald has some "madness" related to his or her divine attributes?

Nale, Herald of Justice, is following the law by the letter. Not the spirit, but what is written down.

Ash, Herald of Beauty, who should be "Creative", is destroying artwork depicting her.

Kalak, whose Order is the adventurous Willshapers is rather paranoid now.

Jezrien, who should be a Leader, is getting drunk and speaking gibberish on Gavilar's Last Supper (although as this person is described as having a long black and grey beard, this could also be Ishar.)


Brandon won't yet confirm whether or not the above holds for that which readers haven't yet read.