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I had this (probably crazy) idea today and posted it on Tumblr and it was suggested I bring it here as well. I tried to search to see if it was already here somewhere and didn't find anything - I apologize in advance if my searching-fu was lacking and I'm creating a repeat topic. Theory: At the very end of WoR, Nin gives Szeth a black Shardblade that lives in a metal sheath and asks in a cheerful voice "Would you like to destroy some evil today?" It is fairly clear that this is Nightblood from Warbreaker. We know that Nightblood was Awakened by Vasher and Shashara. However, even accounting for the sheer number of breaths involved in Awakening steel, Nightblood is odd for an Awakened object. We don't see any other Awakened objects that actively draw the breath from their users or leak black smoke. Here's my crazy idea: What if Nightblood was not originally from Nalthis? What if Nin is returning Nightblood to its native Roshar? We know Vashar was involved in awakening it, but I can't remember or find any mention of where the sword came from before it was Awakened. What if Nightblood was originally a dead-spren shardblade? The thing that got me thinking about this was noticing how well Nightblood's attempts at understanding what evil actually is in a human context parallel conversations we get involving Pattern and Syl trying to understand human concepts. Syl tells us that the dead-spren shardblades are partially revived when they are summoned. Awakening seems like it could be brute forced into reviving a dead-spren shardblade, though without a proper human/spren bond things would be wonky. This could explain Nightblood's odd mental ability. Like the spren in the Stormlight Archive, Nightblood is able to slowly learn to understand human concepts. However, unlike Pattern and Syl, Nightblood lacks a proper human-spren bond and thus is proving to have a much, much slower ability to learn. Spren lose their sentience if they loose their bond with their human (we see this with Syl and Kaladin in addition to being told about it). It would be reasonable for a dead-spren Shardblade Nightblood to require frequent replenishment of breath - just like the Returned require a regular supply of breath to remain "alive". This could provide an explanation for Nightblood's breath draining property. We know that black is a powerful color for fueling Awakening. If Nightblood is originally from Roshar rather than Nalthis, then the BioChromatic breath is not actually the right power source. It would want Stormlight which, as far as I can tell, is white. The process of converting Breath into power the spren-based sword can use could plausibly involve filtering out the color resulting in the black color of the blade and then the excess being released as the signature "black smoke." So, yeah. There's my idea. I'm fluctuating between thinking it is completely insane and thinking it is just the kind of crazy that might actually have a chance. On the off chance there is any truth to it, the power implications for an Awakened Shardblade seem like they would be off the charts... Regardless, I have found it interesting to think about and would be happy to hear other people's thoughts :-)