Argent

New Terminology: Initiation

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The 10th anniversary edition of Elantris includes a proper Ars Arcanum, and it tells us of a new Cosmere term, much like Investiture is a Cosmere term. It is Initiation. The Ars Arcanum's writer says the following about it:

 

How, then, is a practitioner of AonDor Initiated? It does not appear to be tied to family descent, as one finds on Scadrial, nor is it a specific Shard’s Decision, as on Nalthis. Even Taldain’s and Vax’s methods do not seem to apply here. I can only surmise random chance is involved, unless there is a hidden pattern I have not been able to discern.

 

That's it, just your regular PSA in case you don't have the new edition but want to use proper and fancy words.

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So would swearing the final KR ideal be initiation, or would your spren showing up be it? Nice catch however, and I can't wait to see this term used in the future.

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So is Initiation the way people are able to use investiture? Like on Scadrial it says its tied to family descent, but could snapping also be a form of initiation?

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Obviously Snapping would be considered Initiation.

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You know, I am not sure what it actually means. It could be that it is the act that turns you into a "magic user" - Shaod, Snapping, Nahel Bond, Returning. The problem with that is that Forgery doesn't really have a moment like this, as far as I know - you just need to be able to create your stamps well enough. ChayShan also potentially doesn't have Initiation in this sense. 

 

On the other hand, it being tied to family descent on Scadrial implies that Initiation is (probably) about... eligibility to become a "magic user", not the act of becoming one. In this scenario, the bit about a "Shard's Decision" on Nalthis could mean that Endowment Decided to give everyone the chance to Awaken instead of Deciding who gets to Return. 

 

The best rationalization I've been able to come up with is that Initiation is, in fact, the act of gaining control over a certain type of Investiture. Elantrians transformed by the Shaod, Dakhor monks finalizing their skeletal transformations, Hemalurgists getting spiked, Surgebinders (and Listeners?) binding with a spren, Nalthians Returning. Normal Awakeners probably don't need to be Initiated, and neither do Feruchemists. But the elephant in the room is, of course, Allomancy. I think I can accept the "tied to family descent" line as a literal truth - yes, a Scadrian's Snapping threshold depends on their family, how strong the Allomantic blood is in their line, so strictly speaking, the two are tied. 

 

But somebody should ask during the UK tour. It would be nice to have a clear definition. 

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The part "a Shard's Decision, like on Nalthis" makes me think that this is talking about something bigger than Snapping. Snapping is just getting access to the local "general" Investiture, the Nalthis equivalent being a normal Breath which everyone can access, but what the Shard is deciding to do is make Returned, which is actually a SPLINTER.

 

If we also assume that Elantrians are Splinters (I fully admit this is not confirmed, but IMO makes sense), then the Scadrial equivalent would be taking the Power at the Well of Ascention. If that's the case, then it could be that Vin was the great-great-...-great-granddaughter of Alendi, and that Alendi was similarly descended from the previous one to take the Power.

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Maybe the Initiation is about a threshold form the average interation with the Investiture and became a "magic user". The moment through one Human begin to "intuitively to manipulate a form of manifestation of investiture".

 

Some example could be:

Scadrial: Family descend and Misting anomaly (without Preservation's upgrade)

Nalthis: Shard's decision through the sending of Returned or the reach of a some amount of Breath and their "easy awakening".

Elantris: Shaod to Aondor, mental and physical fortitude to a Dhrakor and possibly strong dedication to Forgery (possibly also to the Chainsaw and Bloodseal). Note: To be honest I think that the "dedication" is the key part to all the Selish magics but it's just a theory.

Roshar: The "broken" condition that could be "needed" to all form of investiture of Roshar. From Surgebinding to the research of the Night Watch.

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It could simply be the capacity/ability to access the Investiture for the first time. Not everyone on Scadrial can access Allomancy, especially during pre and during Final Empire times (at least, I think i'm remembering that rightly)

 

I'm still trying to finalise my questions for Monday (I keep chopping and changing) but PM me some suggestions/examples of phrasing, might help me make my mind up

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You know, I am not sure what it actually means. It could be that it is the act that turns you into a "magic user" - Shaod, Snapping, Nahel Bond, Returning. The problem with that is that Forgery doesn't really have a moment like this, as far as I know - you just need to be able to create your stamps well enough. ChayShan also potentially doesn't have Initiation in this sense. 

 

On the other hand, it being tied to family descent on Scadrial implies that Initiation is (probably) about... eligibility to become a "magic user", not the act of becoming one. In this scenario, the bit about a "Shard's Decision" on Nalthis could mean that Endowment Decided to give everyone the chance to Awaken instead of Deciding who gets to Return. 

 

The best rationalization I've been able to come up with is that Initiation is, in fact, the act of gaining control over a certain type of Investiture. Elantrians transformed by the Shaod, Dakhor monks finalizing their skeletal transformations, Hemalurgists getting spiked, Surgebinders (and Listeners?) binding with a spren, Nalthians Returning. Normal Awakeners probably don't need to be Initiated, and neither do Feruchemists. But the elephant in the room is, of course, Allomancy. I think I can accept the "tied to family descent" line as a literal truth - yes, a Scadrian's Snapping threshold depends on their family, how strong the Allomantic blood is in their line, so strictly speaking, the two are tied. 

 

But somebody should ask during the UK tour. It would be nice to have a clear definition. 

 

Or, in another way of looking at it, all feruchemists start Initiated, as does every Nalthian. I think you're on the right track here in general.

Edited by Ari
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@ LabRat: Elantrians being Splinters doesn't make sense at all IMO, that would mean new splinters could be made from a shard that's already been splintered. Since Seons and Skaze have already been confirmed to be splinters of Devotion and Dominion, it would also mean that splinters of the same shard could take different forms/manifestations, of which there has been no indication at all in any other Cosmere book.

 

I think it has something to do with being selected to be different from the general population.

On Nalthis everyone is potentially an awakener, and I don't think Endowment had any choice in that, so the Decision he/she can make is who becomes Returned and is therefore set apart from most people.

On Scadrial it's genetically determined who is a Feruchemist (so they're initiated at birth, and who has the possibility of becoming an Allomancer. Even if a person hasn't snapped, they're still different from normal, because there's the option that they might. (Hemalurgy's tricky, unless you're Initiated by being bonkers enough to want to practice it.)

Roshar sets people apart through the Nahel bond, which is sort of a Shard's Decision (like on Nalthis), since it's the Spren (a Splinter of Honor) who decides with whom to bond.

 

Like the Ars Arcanum suggests, it's hard to determine which factor Initiates a person on Sel. Though it has been theorised (I don't know about confirmed) that people are chosen by the Shaod because they have a lot of devotion for something. So showing devotion would start (initiate ;)) the process of being chosen by the Shaod.

 

Also note that the extract from the AA talks about AonDor, it specifically does not mention Dakhor, Forgery, BloodSealing or ChayShan, perhaps implying that there are different Initiations for each, but we don't really know enough about these three to be sure. (You may say that we know quite a bit about Forgery, and we do: about the practice itself, but not about how one becomes a Forger, it may require something besides studying.) 

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@ LabRat: Elantrians being Splinters doesn't make sense at all IMO, that would mean new splinters could be made from a shard that's already been splintered. Since Seons and Skaze have already been confirmed to be splinters of Devotion and Dominion, it would also mean that splinters of the same shard could take different forms/manifestations, of which there has been no indication at all in any other Cosmere book.

It actually would make complete sense. We've seen 2 different types of Shards, attended/occupied/guided and UNattended/occupied/guided, and a transition between the 2 types (Sazed picking up the unattended Shards of Preservation and Ruin, making them attended). Why couldn't the same thing happen with Splinters? The Seons and Skaze are a form of unattended Splinter, but the Elantrians could be a form of attended Splinter similar to a returned.

Note: I'm NOT saying that a Seon gets taken by a person to make them an Elantrian, but rather that the remaining Shardic energy, from the same source, is being used to make an Elantrian Splinter.

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The part "a Shard's Decision, like on Nalthis" makes me think that this is talking about something bigger than Snapping. Snapping is just getting access to the local "general" Investiture, the Nalthis equivalent being a normal Breath which everyone can access, but what the Shard is deciding to do is make Returned, which is actually a SPLINTER.

 

If we also assume that Elantrians are Splinters (I fully admit this is not confirmed, but IMO makes sense), then the Scadrial equivalent would be taking the Power at the Well of Ascention. If that's the case, then it could be that Vin was the great-great-...-great-granddaughter of Alendi, and that Alendi was similarly descended from the previous one to take the Power.

 

Elantrians are not splinters. By definition, a splinter is a thing which has never been human.

source

PUCK

"How is a Splinter different from a Sliver?

BRANDON SANDERSON

"Let me see... You have met splinters in ElantrisWarbreaker, and in Way of Kings. You have not met them in Mistborn."

PUCK

"I feel like we know that. So, qualitatively, what's the difference?"

BRANDON SANDERSON

"Qualitatively, they're reverses of one another. A Sliver is a human intelligence who has held the power and released it. A Splinter has never been human."

PUCK

"But it derives from a Shard's power."

BRANDON SANDERSON

"Yes. That's not it completely, but there's at least something to think about."

Emphasis mine. I was intrigued by the argument, so I looked it up on the Coppermind. Turns out, the term 'splinter' doesn't mean quite what I thought it did.

Edited by Emerald101
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Returned were human, Returned hold a Splinter. Replace "Splinter" with whatever term properly describes a Returned.

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So...off topic (I haven't been spending much time in shard for a while) how long have we known about Vax and where did this knowledge come from?

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We didn't, as far as I know.

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This is the only mention. Brandon won't tell us more for now either.

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This is the only mention. Brandon won't tell us more for now either.

 

Cheeky bugger even responded to preliminary questions with "...who?"

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Cheeky bugger even responded to preliminary questions with "...who?"

 

To be fair, I have a feeling it's pronounced V-ah-x, like fox, but people asking are saying it more like Wax, and so Vax and Wax not only sound alike, but certain languages pronounce the letter W as the English V, and add in the whole Scadrial speaks a language more like French, and it's not so difficult a mistake to make. So it's quite possible he's not trying to be Cheeky.

 

...but then again, it is Brandon we're talking about...

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Returned were human, Returned hold a Splinter. Replace "Splinter" with whatever term properly describes a Returned.

 

I think the correct term would be something like 'splint-holder' (Like 'Shardholder' but on a much smaller scale). Regardless, the way AonDor works signals to me that Elantrians don't hold splinters, but rather just channel investiture. The key difference is that splinters seem to be more or less separate from the parent shard (they often even have their own intent.), whereas plain investiture appears to return to the shard after use. Elantrians losing their shine/glow when they go off-world signifies that they aren't carrying that investiture around with them, but that they're simply connected to the Dor.

Edited by Emerald101
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To be fair, I have a feeling it's pronounced V-ah-x, like fox, but people asking are saying it more like Wax, and so Vax and Wax not only sound alike, but certain languages pronounce the letter W as the English V, and add in the whole Scadrial speaks a language more like French, and it's not so difficult a mistake to make. So it's quite possible he's not trying to be Cheeky.

 

...but then again, it is Brandon we're talking about...

 

Also I get the impression he may have forgot that he put Vax in the AA for new!Elantris. Given how much you need to keep in your head at once with revising it's totally reasonable that he had no idea he had name-dropped Vax in the 10th Anniversary Edition.

 

 

I think the correct term would be something like 'splint-holder' (Like 'Shardholder' but on a much smaller scale). Regardless, the way AonDor works signals to me that Elantrians don't hold splinters, but rather just channel investiture. The key difference is that splinters seem to be more or less separate from the parent shard (they often even have their own intent.), whereas plain investiture appears to return to the shard after use. Elantrians losing their shine/glow when they go off-world signifies that they aren't carrying that investiture around with them, but that they're simply connected to the Dor.

 

Brandon definitely thinks of Returned as a different category of Splinter to the "Splinters" he refers to when talking about Seons, Skaze, and Spren, as their investiture is not sentient. (Most likely a side-effect of Endowment deliberately splintering her own power) Basically everything that goes on on Nalthis seems to be full of exceptions to the rules- everyone is Initiated as an Awakener, Splinters aren't sentient, her Investiture appears to manifest as flowers... you name it, it's weird. :D

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Brandon definitely thinks of Returned as a different category of Splinter to the "Splinters" he refers to when talking about Seons, Skaze, and Spren, as their investiture is not sentient. (Most likely a side-effect of Endowment deliberately splintering her own power) Basically everything that goes on on Nalthis seems to be full of exceptions to the rules- everyone is Initiated as an Awakener, Splinters aren't sentient, her Investiture appears to manifest as flowers... you name it, it's weird. :D

 

I'm not so sure about this. Returned are sentient. They are sentient because they inhabit a body that used to be alive, reviving it. We've never seen another world where the splinters are granted to previously alive sentient beings, and so saying that Returned are an exception to the rule is baseless for now. It could very well be that if the splinter that is a Seon were placed into a dead body, they'd revive as well. In addition, saying that the flowers are an exception seems wrong because what makes you assume that the Scadrian metals aren't the exception? We know through old WoBs that the investiture will take different forms on the different planets. While the metals are the solid form on Scadrial, perhaps the flowers are the solid form on Nalthis (I don't personally believe that, but my theory does not belong here). 

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we don't know if any of it is weird or not. Even the whole "everyone is Initiated" thing might not be unique. Given the Jindo people can channel the Dor by body movements, and we're never told anything about Shuden being special among his people, it's very possible that ChayShan can be practiced by all Jindoese. 

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I would have tried asking about it, but I had way too many questions already

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I'm not so sure about this. Returned are sentient. They are sentient because they inhabit a body that used to be alive, reviving it. We've never seen another world where the splinters are granted to previously alive sentient beings, and so saying that Returned are an exception to the rule is baseless for now. It could very well be that if the splinter that is a Seon were placed into a dead body, they'd revive as well. In addition, saying that the flowers are an exception seems wrong because what makes you assume that the Scadrian metals aren't the exception? We know through old WoBs that the investiture will take different forms on the different planets. While the metals are the solid form on Scadrial, perhaps the flowers are the solid form on Nalthis (I don't personally believe that, but my theory does not belong here). 

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we don't know if any of it is weird or not. Even the whole "everyone is Initiated" thing might not be unique. Given the Jindo people can channel the Dor by body movements, and we're never told anything about Shuden being special among his people, it's very possible that ChayShan can be practiced by all Jindoese. 

 

I just had this very discussion with Yata in another thread a week or two ago. I have direct WoB through Twitter that although Returned are sentient, the Investiture in their Divine Breath (ie. their Splinter) is not. (most likely, they're grabbing the necessary sentience by pulling a Cognitive Shadow from the Cognitive Realm and returning it to the body, which makes them a very different type of Splinter)

 

The flowers (potentially) being an exception is a little bit of an exaggeration though, I agree. ;) That said, I would find it very suspicious if all Jindoese were Initiated in ChayShan when none of the other Selish magics work this way, when they're all seemingly accessing the same power to work their magic. (I would also expect that the Duladen "revolution" would have gone slightly differently if they could all use magic to repel the Fjorden) I imagine most of the explanation of what's going on is simply that Endowment's Intent is driving her to make Investiture as easy to access as possible, and to create splinters without completely Splintering her power.

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I just had this very discussion with Yata in another thread a week or two ago. I have direct WoB through Twitter that although Returned are sentient, the Investiture in their Divine Breath (ie. their Splinter) is not. (most likely, they're grabbing the necessary sentience by pulling a Cognitive Shadow from the Cognitive Realm and returning it to the body, which makes them a very different type of Splinter)

 

The flowers (potentially) being an exception is a little bit of an exaggeration though, I agree. ;) That said, I would find it very suspicious if all Jindoese were Initiated in ChayShan when none of the other Selish magics work this way, when they're all seemingly accessing the same power to work their magic. (I would also expect that the Duladen "revolution" would have gone slightly differently if they could all use magic to repel the Fjorden) I imagine most of the explanation of what's going on is simply that Endowment's Intent is driving her to make Investiture as easy to access as possible, and to create splinters without completely Splintering her power.

 

But remember that a power without sentience will develop its own sentience. So it's possible that an Endowment splinter, not given to make a Returned, would eventually gain sentience, and so I still don't think we know enough to definitively say they are different.

 

As for the Jindo, remember that the Dula are half Arelish, and so it's very possible that the Dula can't use ChayShan, and considering the only true Jindo we meet is Shuden, and the fact that ChayShan only happens once in the novel, we really don't know the extent to which the Jindo can access the Dor. At least I don't recall Shuden commenting on it. And in regards to it being unique, we know each of the magics are regionally unique on Sel. Considering the vast differences they show in channeling the Dor, I wouldn't be surprised to learn they Initiate differently, but then I do think it's a bit of a stretch. My point stands though, we don't know enough about other magics to definitively state that Nalthian magic is an outlier.

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The 10th anniversary edition of Elantris includes a proper Ars Arcanum, and it tells us of a new Cosmere term, much like Investiture is a Cosmere term. It is Initiation. The Ars Arcanum's writer says the following about it:

Quote

 

How, then, is a practitioner of AonDor Initiated? It does not appear to be tied to family descent, as one finds on Scadrial, nor is it a specific Shard’s Decision, as on Nalthis. Even Taldain’s and Vax’s methods do not seem to apply here. I can only surmise random chance is involved, unless there is a hidden pattern I have not been able to discern.

 

 

That's it, just your regular PSA in case you don't have the new edition but want to use proper and fancy words.

Aah thank you for this! I had been wondering if Brandon had coined a word for this! I'd been going around saying 'Activator' in my head.

How I see the usage of the term, 'Initiation' is what provides a being the the ability to use Investiture (so the change in sDNA). On Scadrial it's Lerasium/Genetics. On Roshar it's the Nahel Bond or Honor Blade. For Awakening it is the Breath and so forth.

 

I'm not so sure about this. Returned are sentient. They are sentient because they inhabit a body that used to be alive, reviving it. We've never seen another world where the splinters are granted to previously alive sentient beings, and so saying that Returned are an exception to the rule is baseless for now. It could very well be that if the splinter that is a Seon were placed into a dead body, they'd revive as well. In addition, saying that the flowers are an exception seems wrong because what makes you assume that the Scadrian metals aren't the exception? We know through old WoBs that the investiture will take different forms on the different planets. While the metals are the solid form on Scadrial, perhaps the flowers are the solid form on Nalthis (I don't personally believe that, but my theory does not belong here). 

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we don't know if any of it is weird or not. Even the whole "everyone is Initiated" thing might not be unique. Given the Jindo people can channel the Dor by body movements, and we're never told anything about Shuden being special among his people, it's very possible that ChayShan can be practiced by all Jindoese. 

Just for clarifcation (though it'll just make it more confusing) there's a slight issue about the Returned and their Investiture, as there are conflicting quotes from Brandon:
He at first in 2010 said that 
" Each Returned has one single superpowered breath. Imagine it as one breath that propels them up through the Heightenings, but it is only a single breath. It's what we speak of in Shard world terminology as a Splinter."
Then he says 
 
"
(Returned) are Highly Invested beings, but the Investiture is not sapient."
But in 2013 he says 
"
Splinter is a term used by certain people in the cosmere for power of Adonalsium which has no person caring for it, no... no person holding it, which has attained self-awareness."

 

The conflicting quotes just make the matter of the Returned even more confusing - though it might suggest that the Divine Breath HAD some sapience, possibly IT choses who to Return, and then loses it's self-awareness? That would mean that it WAS a Splinter, before a Returned got hold of it?

However at least I would say that Breaths/Divine Breaths would be the Initiatior (as well as the Investiture?)

 

I'm not so sure about this. Returned are sentient. They are sentient because they inhabit a body that used to be alive, reviving it. We've never seen another world where the splinters are granted to previously alive sentient beings, and so saying that Returned are an exception to the rule is baseless for now. It could very well be that if the splinter that is a Seon were placed into a dead body, they'd revive as well. In addition, saying that the flowers are an exception seems wrong because what makes you assume that the Scadrian metals aren't the exception? We know through old WoBs that the investiture will take different forms on the different planets. While the metals are the solid form on Scadrial, perhaps the flowers are the solid form on Nalthis (I don't personally believe that, but my theory does not belong here). 

 

Just to clarify, and not to be pedantic, the metals aren't actually a solid form of Investiture on Scadrial.

Brandon has said that they are the 'Focus' and that the Investiture comes from 'elsewhere'. He's never actually given, in public, the name of the Investiture for Scadrial - a lot of people (from what I have seen of posts) think the power/Investiture comes from Preservation, however in many of his early quotes Brandon specifically says that the power (Investiture) comes from somewhere (somewhere yet unnamed).
As for the Plants on Nalthis, I didn't think they had any power, they were just an incredibly strong dye which creates strong colours - and colours are needed to power Awakening, not specifically colours from the plant [unless they are dying bricks and grass and so forth].

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