|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
A glyphward is a prayer, written in the form of glyphs, that is used in Vorinism. Glyphwards can be as short in length as a single glyph, or as long as several glyphs strung together. They do take some skill to draw well and neatly, so a person who can draw glyphwards calligraphically well is considered to have an impressive ability. After a glyphward is created, whether through drawing or sewing it into cloth, it is burned to send the soul of the prayer to the Almighty. If the prayer fails to be answered, it is simply treated as his will. In addition to sending prayers to the Almighty, glyphwards often appeal to one of the Heralds, such as Jezerezeh'Elin, or to the Stormfather. Glyphs were also drawn on surfaces with burn ink, and then set on fire to burn a glyph onto something.
The prayers sent by glyphwards vary quite a bit. Some are burned before an action, such as a duel, for a blessing such as luck or success. Others are burned in a prayer of thanksgiving for some perceived blessing. Some glyphwards are commissioned to absolve sins, such as visiting the Nightwatcher. When a person dies or is in danger, his or her wife or daughters will create glyphwards to pray for that person. Glyphwards are also believed to be able to turn away evil.
On some occasions, glyphwards are not burned right away, or at all. A bride's prayer is a glyphward made up of a glyphpair. A woman who is to be married has it sewn onto her sleeve. After the engagement is formally announced, the prayer is removed and burned. Other times, a glyphward is simply sewn onto a person's sleeve in the event that they ever need it, in which case it would be burned. Some are simply worn for protection or good fortune, without ever needing to be burned. On occasion, Rosharans will even get tattoos of glyphwards.
When fire or flammable materials are not available, one may sketch a glyphward anyway, in hope that the Almighty will understand the supplicant's situation and accept the prayer. In place of burning the glyphward, the petitioner will bow her head reverently for ten heartbeats. Less formal prayers may also be simply traced with a finger to ward off evil.
Women are the only ones to typically make glyphwards, although both men and women make use of them. In addition to being homemade, glyphwards are often purchased from luckmerches or apothecaries, the latter of which will often decorate their shops with glyphwards. Ardents will also burn prayers to the Almighty, to help the people they serve.
More scientifically minded or more logical Rosharans deplore glyphwards as mere nonsense and superstition. Some wonder why, if the Almighty is omniscient, he needs to have a prayer burned to him before he can aid someone.
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