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Confused last won the day on February 22 2014

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  1. Thanks, everyone, for your comments! In the OP. Me too. What specific questions do you have? You first have to accept that Shards magically differ only in how they give access to Investiture before the fractal theory makes sense. Here's the critical part of this WoB (bold added) that I think talks about Avatar self-awareness: The question’s context is the definition of Splinters and how that definition applies to Avatars. My reasoning: 1. Splinters are generally thought of as self-aware gobs of Investiture. Self-awareness minimally means sentience, not necessarily sapience. IMO, free-floating Investiture gobs that lack all awareness are not Splinters under any definition. 2. Brandon hedges on whether all Avatars are Splinters because some “aren't necessarily aware.” “Some would say that counts as Splinters” because “Bavadin always is” aware even if the Avatar isn’t. 3. Because Bavadin supplies awareness to the non-aware Avatars, I conclude Bavadin personally directs those Avatars’ Investiture. This WoB describes the “standard” Avatars that have their own minds. The above-quoted WoB makes me think the “non-standard” ones lack minds, and Bavadin directs them. FWIW, I first tried out the idea that Bavadin retains control over Avatars on Discord. Consensus there (at the time) agreed with me. @Eternal Khol also shares this idea. If the above-quoted WoB didn’t arise in the context of Splinter definition, I might agree with you. But that context shows me Brandon really did mean self-awareness. If you are correct and some self-aware Avatars just don’t know they belong to a larger whole, all Avatars would clearly be Splinters. There’d be no question about terminology if they’re all self-aware. It’s the fact they are NOT all self-aware that raises the question. Ah! RAFO! Read the OP, where I describe Avatar creation in detail. I think Avatars are NOT distinct from Autonomy. I believe they are all smaller-scaled versions of Autonomy, and yet parts of the greater whole. That is the definition of fractals. Because Avatars are part of Autonomy’s whole, I think even sapient Avatars are subject to Autonomy’s control. IMO, Avatars’ minds all Connect to Bavadin, and she can overrule whatever Avatars decide. Think of a monarch and its subjects. ASIDE: Brandon wanted “internal, natural contrast” to be a part of spren. I think he did the same with Autonomy. The name “Autonomy” is magically apt because each fractal is a self-contained, autonomous unit. Yet Bavadin’s denial of full autonomy to the Avatars to me makes the name metaphorically funny. I think Avatar creation requires two things: fractals and water. Fractals are Autonomy’s “primal force,” the way Autonomy gives access to Investiture. Like metal for Preservation, water IMO is the “pathway” Autonomy’s Investiture takes as it moves from the Spiritual Realm into the Physical Realm. You may think that sounds weird and convoluted, but take a look at the evidence I present in the OP. EVERY known planet where Autonomy resides or has an Avatar or has a “gathering of Investiture” is ocean with a single large land mass: Taldain, First of the Sun, and Roshar. Brandon says fractal geometry principles built Roshar’s pangaea. I believe the same principles built the other planets’ land masses. Autonomy’s magic systems all maintain Cognitive bonds through water. Sand Mastery relies on water to forge and maintain a Sand Master’s Cognitive bond with microflora. The Investiture in Patji’s Eye flows undiluted into the surrounding seas, where the most dangerous Cognitive predators live. The island’s “dense humidity” IMO creates weaker Cognitive bonds between land predators and prey than sea water. Dusk says Patji’s land predators are relatively weaker than the surrounding sea predators. All this doesn’t prove the role of fractals and water in Autonomy’s magic, but I find it pretty darn persuasive.
  2. Agreed. But this difference – a Shard’s “flavor” or “spin” or “magnetism” or “filter” – IS each Shard’s unique means of access to Investiture. Ruin, for example, can grant Allomantic powers but only through an act of entropy – spiking. Honor grants the flying power through voluntary bonds. These three WoBs confirm this: “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do.” “The means of getting powers…are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” “Honor doesn’t belong to gravity. But bonds, and how to deal with bonds, and things like this, is an Honor thing.” This is a VERY important and often overlooked aspect of the Shards. Frankly, I believe it’s impossible to understand Shards without understanding the different ways they give access to Investiture. The OP posits Autonomy gives access through fractals, a “flavor” that fascinates Brandon. I’d like to read your response to my views on Avatars and Aviar magic. Do you here refer to the Fused using Stormlight? You and I have discussed this before and (up to now) disagree. I believe the Fused Voidbind; you believe they hack Surgebinding. Maybe the three cited WoBs now persuade you the Fused do Voidbind? The Fused access Investiture by Odium’s means, not Honor’s. Odium “takes your pain” – breaks your emotional Connections, IMO – to grant his magic. Odium doesn’t grant his magic through bonds. “The means of getting powers...are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” General Undirected Observation: People engage on the Forums for all sorts of reasons. I’m a puzzle-solver. Sound theory to me means look at the cosmere as both metaphor and machine. I feel too many overlook the mechanics, like how Shards give access to Investiture. Henry David Thoreau said it best: Metaphor and machine... Regards! C.
  3. I highly recommend the November 2019 Autonomy Shardcast. @Chaos, @thegatorgirl00, @Argent, and @Overlord Jebus do a great job going over the Autonomy essentials with relevant text and WoBs. Their Trell analysis alone is worth the listen. The Shardcasters, though, offer no unifying principle to explain Bavadin/Autonomy’s many oddities. My “Comprehensive Magic Theory” proposes such a principle: fractals. Fractals are progressively smaller-scaled versions of the same pattern, all of which make one whole. Avatars seem smaller-scaled versions of Autonomy, and I speculate Autonomy’s magic (Sand Mastery and Aviar) relies on Splinters that are still smaller-scaled Autonomy versions. All remain “one whole,” since (a recent WoB suggests) Autonomy controls their Avatars through an inter-Connected mind. Don’t hang up yet...Let me explain. Background: Shard “Primal Forces” My theory posits Shards magically differ only in how they give access to their Investiture, not in what their Investiture can do. Ruin’s magic users access Investiture through some act of entropy; Preservation’s through some act of stasis; and Honor’s through a voluntary bond between people. Brandon alternately calls these different means of access to Investiture “primal forces,” “fundamental laws,” and “something...natural.” Shards are “primal forces attached to certain aspects of personality...[a] cultural component, I would say, that is trying to represent something that is also natural.” Brandon cites his fascination with fractals. I think he wants a “personality aspect/cultural component” to represent a fractal primal force. Fractals are too common in nature for him to ignore. I believe Brandon settled on “Autonomy” as the “charged term” for a Shard that gives access to Investiture through fractals. What Are Fractals Mandelbrot (of @Extesian's Mandelbrot Set icon) coined the term “fractal” in 1975: "a fractal is a geometric shape that can be separated into parts, each of which is a reduced-scale version of the whole." Here’s another description: The main points: Smaller-scaled fractals show the same pattern as the whole. Fractals can infinitely self-replicate that pattern. Smaller-scaled fractals remain part of the larger whole (the most important point, IMO). Why I Associate Fractals with Autonomy Brandon himself asks: If you get rid of the charged term “autonomy” – the sense of freedom, self-reliance, etc. – I think you’re left with a primal force that focuses on fractal self-containedness. Each fractal bears the same pattern as the others but is its own autonomous unit. The ongoing looped process that creates fractals ensures each fractal will continue to make more, smaller-scaled autonomous fractals of the same pattern. What Are Avatars Fractal creation seems to me exactly what Autonomy does when they create Avatars, smaller-scaled versions of themselves that remain part of the whole. Brandon describes the “standard” Avatar – a smaller, less-powerful-than-a-Shard combination of mind and Investiture: Questions: (1) What are the non-standard types of Avatars; and (2) how do Avatars differ from other large forms of sapient Investiture like Roshar’s great spren? Two recent WoBs give some insight: Answers: These WoBs say, 1. Avatars can spawn spontaneously without Bavadin consciously creating them. 2. Bavadin is always aware of their Avatars including spontaneously spawned ones. 3. Bavadin personally directs the Avatars that lack self-awareness. I speculate these non-self-aware Avatars are the non-standard ones. These Avatar characteristics match the fractal behavior I describe above. Avatars spawn spontaneously because fractals can infinitely self-replicate their pattern. Bavadin is always aware of their Avatars because all fractals are part of the larger whole. Maybe other living Shards spontaneously Splinter and maybe they retain some awareness of their Splinters, but the extent of their attention is unclear. Odium does not seem aware of Sja-anat’s treachery, for example. Item 3 in particular may be unique to Autonomy. I don’t recall another Shard whose Vessel personally directs large independent chunks of its Investiture. The only known large Investiture chunks are Roshar’s great spren and the nascent Mother Sel (AU, “The Selish System,” Kindle pp. 18). Yet the Stormfather, Nightwatcher, and Sibling each have their own mind and personality; and Mother Sel seems to be forming her own mind. In contrast to Autonomy’s control of their Avatars, Cultivation encourages the Nightwatcher to grow her own abilities, as befits that Shard. Hypothesis: Maybe Avatars differ from other sapient Investiture chunks because Avatars remain subject to Autonomy’s control – just like fractals are smaller-scaled versions of the whole. Bavadin writes to Hoid as “us” and “we.” I suspect Autonomy at some level controls even the self-directing Avatars that have their own personality. We know Autonomy creates pantheons where they are every god of every gender – smaller versions of Bavadin. This would explain why Brandon says, “The being called Patji still exists, and is a Shard of Adonalsium.” Since Autonomy maintains their control of Patji, a smaller-scaled version of themselves, Patji IS a Shard, part of Autonomy. How Fractals Fit Autonomy’s Magic Honor is not the only Shard that bonds, Ruin isn’t the only Shard that destroys, and Autonomy is not the only Shard that creates fractals (Pattern, anyone?). But IMO each of them ARE the only Shards that give access to their Investiture through bonding, entropy, and fractals respectively. Avatar Creation Autonomy creates standard Avatars by first finding a “gathering” of their “assigned Investiture.” Brandon says, “in the cosmere matter, energy, and Investiture are one thing” and all share the mark of the Shard’s “spin,” its primal force/fundamental law/something natural. This maintains the 16-Shard balance when Investiture converts into matter or energy and back again. I believe Autonomy searches for sources of Physical Realm fractals large enough to sustain an Avatar. Autonomy’s only known Avatar is Patji on First of the Sun. Bavadin mentions “Obrodai” and its nascent Avatar in their letter to Hoid, but that may just be their name for First of the Sun. Roshar also holds a “gathering of [Autonomy’s assigned] Investiture” that does not (yet?) appear to be an Avatar. First of the Sun/Obrodai and Roshar are ocean planets with little land. In their letter, Bavadin seems to enjoy oceans: "But we stand in the sea, pleased with our domains....” (OB Chapter 48 Epigraph.) Adonalsium built the Rosharan continent from Roshar’s ocean floor using the Julia set, a fractal geometry equation. I suggest Roshar’s many fractals (including its gemstones/gemhearts) form Autonomy’s “gathering” of assigned Investiture. IMO, the Patji pantheon (and the Obrodai Avatar if different from Patji) are also land masses built from the oceans on fractal geometry principles. I speculate Autonomy Connects each Avatar to Bavadin’s mind to retain control of the whole. Autonomy programs the Avatar as they choose. Standard Avatars may have a separate personality. Bavadin’s letter to Hoid describes Obrodai’s Avatar: “She is young yet, and – as a precaution – she has been instilled with an intense and overpowering dislike of you." (OB Chapter 50 Epigraph.) Through this inter-Connected mind, the Shard remains a whole comprised of many smaller-scaled versions of themselves. Sand Mastery Sand ribbons are my only evidence Sand Master innate Investiture is a fractal. More powerful Sand Masters can simultaneously control more ribbons. Younger or weaker magic users can only manipulate a single ribbon. This suggests each sand ribbon has a separate source, a separate Autonomy fractal the Sand Master directs. Through training, more powerful Sand Masters may strengthen whatever in their character, talent, and skill Initiated them into Sand Mastery. Those strengthened conditions may cause the fractal to self-replicate. I speculate each new fractal allows the Master to direct a new ribbon. Aviar My analysis here is equally speculative, but I do have support. Brandon says the Aviar-human bond Autonomy’s bond “is easier to shift between people” than Honor’s, “not as strong” but more flexible. I believe these are fractal characteristics. Fractals can spontaneously self-replicate to shift a bond. Fractal flexibility allows them to take any shape in any medium, as earth’s natural features show. The Invested entity is the Aviar’s human bond-mate. Aviar are “an intermediary” because unlike spren the magic isn’t really the Aviar’s. They acquire it by eating Invested worms, fulfilling the role of “the person that’s bonding the spren.” How does the human become an “Invested entity”? My guess is Aviar Initiation is like Sand Mastery’s. Patji’s trappers must prevail against the planet’s most dangerous predators and hazards. Bavadin tells Hoid: “If you wish more, seek these waters in person and overcome the tests we have created. Only in this will you earn our respect.” (OB Chapter 51 Epigraph.) I speculate when trappers “overcome” their tests, Patji rewards them by Splintering off a new fractal into their sDNA to bond an Aviar with. Aviar magic, like Sand Mastery, relies on a Cognitive bond between lifeforms. Water forges and maintains the Sand Master’s bond with Invested microflora (AU, “The Taldain System,” Kindle pp. 369-370); and I believe it maintains all Patji’s Cognitive bonds. Dusk thinks, “Nobody knew why beasts like the shadows only lived here, in the waters near the Pantheon.” (SotD, Kindle Loc 49.) We know the answer is Patji’s Eye, whose Investiture-laced water flows into the sea. These sea predators “did not hunt by smell or sight, but by sensing the minds of prey.” (SotD, Kindle Loc 20.) On Patji Dusk observes, “the beasts that hunted minds on the island were not as large or as strong of psyche as the shadows of the ocean.” (SotD, Kindle Loc 100.) Dusk describes the “dense humidity of Patji’s jungle.” (SotD, Kindle Loc 784.) I speculate land predators catch their prey’s thoughts through the moisture-laden air. Humidity is a weaker water bridge than oceans, which seem to conduct thoughts better. The weaker bridge IMO comparatively weakens the land predators. Conclusion Every Shard IMO accesses Investiture through a different “primal force/fundamental law/something natural.” Avatars, Sand Mastery, and Aviar make fractals my best guess for Autonomy’s primal force (for now). Regards! C. Predictions:
  4. Happy New Year, everyone! I’ve been away from the Forums a few months and have a bunch to say about topics related to the OP: the futility of naming unknown Shards; over-anthropomorphizing Shards; where is Nalthis’ ambient Investiture; is Shard uniqueness inherent in Investiture; Connections and time; and pathways to power. Naming Shards @Ixthos and @Parallax, your Shard naming models and analyses are first-rate. But Brandon says Shard names are “charged terms” for certain unchanging principles the Shards embody. I think we can’t name a Shard without first identifying its unchanging principle. Shards are “primal forces attached to certain aspects of personality.” I believe Shard magical uniqueness resides in these primal forces (which Brandon also describes as ”something natural” and “fundamental laws”). The OP theorizes each primal force grants magic users access to a different Shard’s Investiture. I think of primal forces as the keys to the “vaults” that hold each Shards’ 1/16th Investiture share. Shard names IMO depict a cultural interpretation of the Shard’s unique magic. (“They” call me Odium, Rayse tells Dalinar.) Ruin and Preservation are “charged terms” for how these Shards’ grant access to Investiture – through acts of entropy and stasis. Honor is the “charged term” for a primal force that voluntarily bonds people. Brandon only confirms Ruin, Preservation, and Honor’s primal forces. Text and WoB allow me to make controversial guesses as to the other known Shards’ primal forces. Without any knowledge of the unknown Shards, I think we can’t begin to guess what charged terms might name them. Anthropomorphizing Shards Many posters believe a Shard’s “intent” controls its Vessel’s non-magical behavior. Honor, for example, must act “honorably.” IMO, Shards only affect their Vessel’s magical behavior. Tanavast himself may be an “honorable” man (“they [the assassin-conspirators] are all honorable men”). Honor the Shard, however, grants access to its magic through a voluntary bond between people. Culture calls that voluntary bond “Honor.” Yet Heralds and Surgebinders alike use their Honor-granted powers to murder and enslave. Kaladin has a different notion of “honor” than, say, Jasnah. Honor the Shard and honor the personality trait bear little resemblance. Brandon says, I read this to mean a potential Vessel doesn’t have to share any personality trait with the Shard to ascend. Even where the initial Shard Connection is weak, as with Ati, living off the Shard’s power inevitably strengthens the Connection. Shards in the end overwhelm their Vessel, making a strong initial Connection unnecessary. Even at that point, the Shard’s compulsions IMO remain magical in effect. Leras can’t kill Elend because Preservation’s magical nature bars it. Leras at the time is fully subject to Preservation’s influence. To direct Preservation’s power, Leras must Intend and perform an act of stasis. Killing Elend is destruction (entropy) – Ruin not Preservation. Full magical alignment squeezes out a Vessel’s ability to Connect to another Shard. Hence, Sazed's struggles. In contrast, Kelsier and Vin are Vessels who wield Preservation’s power before they succumb to the Shard. Both remain capable of destruction. Kelsier is too Connected to Ruin to effectively direct Preservation against Ruin; but I believe if Kelsier holds Preservation long enough, he too would fully embody stasis. Vin is able to kill Ati because she has just ascended. Brandon says, “Vin could have understood and become [Ruin],” though her fear of abandonment made her better suited to Preservation. This WoB shows there is no necessary relationship between Vessel personality and Shard when the Vessel ascends. Nalthis Investiture for Awakening? What are everyone’s theories on the source of Awakening’s Investiture (as fuel) on Nalthis? Brandon says Awakening can use any Investiture including Stormlight as fuel. That’s great on Roshar, but where’s the Nalthian Investiture? (While Breaths can be used as fuel, Awakeners generally recover the same number of Breaths they initially transfer and don’t consume Breaths.) The OP presents two possible but inconclusive sources. What are your thoughts? Is Shard Uniqueness Inherent in its Investiture? @Calderis believes a Shard’s magical uniqueness is inherent in its Investiture, not forged through Connection: Both approaches are valid – not disprovable – and I think both approaches should work the same mechanically. The following discussion to me is thus interesting but academic. Two reasons I prefer my approach: the relationship between “raw Investiture” and Connections, and the unlikelihood Adonalsium’s mind could be equally divided into 16 personality traits. “Raw Investiture” and Connections IMO, “raw Investiture” has no Connections. A Spiritual aspect is “a mix of [a person’s] connections to places, people, and times with raw investiture.” Take away the Connections and all that remains is the “raw” stuff of magic. To me, Connections “program” raw Investiture with each Spiritual aspect’s unique identifying data – whom people love, how fast they can run, how heavy is a stone. I believe Connections collectively carry the cosmere's full data set. All else IMO is “raw Investiture.” I think “spin” is a Connection – each Shard’s unique “primal force/fundamental law/something natural.” I believe pre-Shattering Spiritual Realm Investiture (Adonalsium) was blank of “spin.” Adonalsium imparted “spin” to Investiture when he used some primal force to direct that Investiture: entropy, bonding, stasis, etc. IMO, his direction stamped the Connection, the “spin” that permanently marks the primal force’s role. 16 Equal Shards I think the Shattering for the first time marked “spin” on never-used Spiritual Realm Investiture. That became necessary to maintain the 16-Shard balance. While Adonalsium lived, balance wasn’t a problem. However the Vessels Shattered Adonalsium, they had to Connect themselves to previously raw, un-Connected Spiritual Realm Investiture. Brandon says “a lot [was] going on with” creating Connections at the Shattering. We know Adonalsium could have Shattered into different Shards. That means the Vessels chose the 16 Shards they would direct post-Shattering. Frost confirms this in his letter to Hoid (WoR, Chapter 59 Epigraph): “[Rayse] is what we made him to be, old friend. And that is what he, unfortunately, wished to become.” Your approach, Cal, implies Adonalsium’s mind divided equally into the 16 Shards pre-Shattering. Otherwise some small pieces of Adonalsium’s mind beyond the 16 Shards would have survived the “tearing apart” that killed him. I would expect a Creator to have all possible traits of all the cosmere’s people regardless of culture or species – way more than 16 personality traits. Why did the Shattering result in these 16 traits and in equal measure? Do you think the Vessels gave Adonalsium a personality test? I think the “primal force” analysis works because IMO the Vessels couldn’t divide Adonalsium evenly by personality trait. Instead they agreed on something they could do: access their 1/16th Investiture share with a different key, their unique primal force. Splintering Shards I agree, Cal, with your characterization of Splintering and agree Splintered Investiture does remain assigned: But I think we’re talking about different Connections. I read you, Cal, to refer to the Shard’s internal mind-spirit Connection. Splintering occurs because the Vessel’s mind no longer directs the Investiture. I refer to the Shard’s “spin” Connection, the thing that causes Investiture assignment. “Spin” permanently Connects all the Shard’s thermodynamic states – Investiture, matter, and energy – assuming Brandon retracts that April WoB. Is Activation Energy Necessary for Magic Systems? Cal also questions the need for energy to “activate” each magic system. In our universe, thermodynamics requires some activation energy to begin a chemical or physical reaction. Otherwise, there’s nothing to shake the system’s components out of their pre-existing equilibrium. Brandon says the cosmere’s physics is the same as ours except that Investiture is a third thermodynamic factor. The OP shows known magic systems all have an activation energy except for the two nominally “end-neutral” systems, Feruchemy and Breath transfers. Cal, you say you believe magic user Intent to perform magic is enough for all systems, and activation energy is unnecessary. I agree as to the two end-neutral systems, although both systems in all other respects comply with cosmere thermodynamics. My questions to you are (1) why would cosmere thermodynamics not comply with our universe’s rules on activation energy given Brandon’s general rule; and (2) why else does every magic system other than the end-neutral ones begin with the magic user instilling energy? Connections and Time Brandon says, “All times and all places are one” in the Spiritual Realm. One interpretation: All Connections that could ever exist already exist and have always existed, including time and place. Potential Connections exist even when nothing comes of them. Whether those Connections strengthen into actuality depends on the probability that certain events will occur. I think this is what Brandon means when he compares cosmere Connections with our universe’s “quantum connections.” There’s a bit of Schrödinger’s Cat in the idea all possible Connections always exist but await unknown events to actualize. Several times Syl and the Stormfather say they’ve “always known” something that Kaladin or Dalinar have just figured out. The spren don’t share the information until after their bonded human discovers it. Maybe these situations show the information-carrying Connection was always there. Some event actualized the Connection and brought the information to man and spren’s attention. Since spren are eternal Investiture, they’ve “always known” the information – have always held the Connection that carries it – and in retrospect can recall knowing the information even before the Connection-actualizing event occurs. All Connections always present makes foresight more manageable. Shards can see all potential Connections. Their task is to figure out which Connections are more likely to actualize and at what strength. In a post about the subjectivity of Connections, I describe three possible foresight methods: a “brute force” review of all possible Connections; Shard-specific algorithms to streamline Connection data analysis (my vote); and a “time ribbons” method Leras mentions in M:SH (probably metaphorically). Who knows what Brandon really means about time’s Spiritual Realm irrelevance. I throw out the “quantum connection” idea to prompt discussion. More on “Pathways to Power” To restate the OP, I believe a “pathway to power” delivers Shard Investiture from the Spiritual Realm. If Investiture energizes magic systems, pathways carry that energy. Most pathways are neither fuel nor Investiture (e.g., metal, water, and “color”); yet magic consumes the pathway and ends when the pathway ends. Some observations: Preservation’s and Ruin’s primal forces seem to share a metal pathway. It makes sense Preservation’s pathway should be metal, if only because Marasi says so. (BoM, Chapter 28, Kindle p. 359.) Preservation’s primal force is stasis, and metal’s static molecular structure serves well as a pathway for that primal force. But Ruin shares the metal pathway. Nightblood and Hemalurgy’s cosmere-wide availability both suggest metal may be Ruin’s pathway everywhere and not just on Scadrial. The OP speculates Ruin’s entropy primal force would destroy a less static, less durable pathway than metal. [Specific metals Focus Preservation and Ruin’s power, but all Allomantic/Feruchemical/Hemalurgic metals IMO serve as Preservation and Ruin pathways.] Autonomy’s and Endowment’s primal forces both seem to use solar radiation to distribute ambient Investiture the way highstorms distribute Stormlight. Autonomy’s Investiture seems transported via the sun’s heat energy and falls mostly in oceans. The Investiture IMO then circulates through the planet’s water cycle. Based on Khriss’ description of Sand Mastery, I think water is Autonomy’s pathway to power. Endowment’s Investiture seems transported via the sun’s light energy. Invested photons (IMO) radiate onto Nalthis’ objects. Photons are quanta of electromagnetic radiation, and I think EMR is Endowment’s pathway to power. I find it interesting Shards with different primal forces and pathways can distribute ambient Investiture from the same source, the sun. (Many posters believe the Autonomy and Endowment Vessels were dragons.) WoBs suggest these distribution patterns pre-date the Shattering. All this reminds me how much there is yet to learn about the cosmere and its magic systems. But I do believe “pathways to power” are an important cosmere magical component.
  5. With no new cosmere books on the horizon, I thought the time ripe for my post-OB comprehensive magic theory. I update my iteration from two years ago to reflect OB, intervening WoBs, and the Forum’s endemic (but helpful) hypercriticism. As always, these are MY INTERPRETATIONS, not canon or even consensus. My goal is to show how cosmere magic fits together. No theory is perfect and there will be jagged edges here and there. Theory has text and WoB support. Speculation expands on and logically flows from theory but lacks specific support. The Appendix applies my conclusions to known magic systems. Please read the main body first. Topics: Cosmere Origin [Speculation] Spiritual Aspects and Connections [Theory] Perception’s Cosmere Role [Theory] Cosmere Thermodynamics [Theory] The Shattering [Theory and Speculation] Shard Magical Uniqueness [Theory] Assigned Investiture [Theory] Types of Magic Systems [Theory] Magic System Rules [Theory] The Role of Planets in Magic Systems [Theory] The Role of Shards in Magic Systems [Theory] “Pathways to Power” [Theory and Speculation] Conclusion Spoiler: Appendix – Applications and Predictions [Speculation] Postscript – What If? Cosmere Origin [Speculation] Raw Investiture pre-exists the cosmere. Raw Investiture spontaneously forms a mind – Adonalsium, an anagram for “a mind, a soul.” Adonalsium then creates the Physical Realm. Pre-Shattering, Adonalsium’s mind inheres in all Spiritual Realm Investiture. He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent – his mind is coextensive with his Investiture, and his essence comprises the Physical Realm. Spiritual Aspects and Connections [Theory] Brandon says Spiritual aspects are a mix of Connections and raw Investiture. Connections resemble our universe’s “quantum connections” and are not themselves Investiture. Spiritual aspects thus differ only as to their Connections. Each new or lost Connection changes that Spiritual aspect. IMO, Connections alone carry the information that defines every cosmere person and object. Perception’s Cosmere Role [Theory] Adonalsium’s cosmere is an Investiture-energy matrix that manifests to mortals as the Physical Realm. Mortals collectively perceive the Physical Realm’s physical and emotional forces as Connections. They interpret the Physical Realm through these Connections. Brandon says here, here, and here that cosmere magic is a “human construct.” Different planetary cultures perceive different Connections. Rosharans, for example, perceive the Surges as fundamental cosmere forces. Discrete cultural perceptions partly explain why each planet has a unique subastral. Cosmere Thermodynamics [Theory] Brandon says the cosmere generally follows our universe’s thermodynamic laws, but he adds Investiture as a third element to make the energy flows work. Investiture “is my get-out for the laws of thermodynamics.” Cosmere thermodynamics’ first law states the sum of cosmere matter, energy, and Investiture is constant and these three substances are mutually inter-convertible. The second law states the cosmere’s entropy never decreases over time. I believe the key to understanding magic systems is to follow each system’s energy flows. Our universe’s thermodynamics requires physical and chemical reactions to begin with an “activation energy.” Most magic systems activate with the energy from a magic user’s metabolic or physical processes: Allomancers burn metal. Hemalurgists hammer spikes. Selish magic users move (dance, turn essence stamps, stir potions, draw Aons, bend bones). Sand Masters dehydrate (burn water). Surgebinders inhale Stormlight. Feruchemy and Breath transfers (with or without Awakening) don’t seem to require an activation energy. These “end neutral” magics seem to rely on the bare Intent to perform an act of entropy or stasis (Feruchemy) or to transfer Investiture quanta (Breath transfers). That Intent summons a “facilitating power” from the Spiritual Realm to energize the magic and otherwise comply with thermodynamics. The Shattering [Theory and Speculation] Khriss hints the Vessels first kill Adonalsium and then Shatter his power (M:SH, Part Three - 2, Kindle Locs. 931-940.). Brandon confirms this. I believe the Vessels kill Adonalsium’s mind, his capacity to direct magic. The Vessels then Shatter the now undirected power into sixteen equal Shards. This WoB suggests the method: I speculate the Vessels allocate Adonalsium’s power by forging some unique Connection between each Shard and its Vessel. The Vessel’s “general intent/mindset” makes forging that Connection “way easier,” but aligning general intent/mindset to the Shard is unnecessary. Like with kind and generous Ati, the Shard always prevails. Brandon describes each Shard’s “influence and tweak” of Investiture as a “spin or magnetism.” I think this phrase refers to the Connection that distinguishes one Shard from another. A Shard’s “spin or magnetism” Connects the Shard to all its Realmic states. These Connections mark the Investiture source when Investiture, matter, and energy inter-convert. This maintains the 16-Shard balance. An April 2019 WoB says magic users can change Stormlight into Breath – Honor’s Investiture into Endowment’s. Brandon cites one method: “Refining the power somehow into a more pure form.” I think this method strips the Investiture of its Shard’s unique “spin or magnetism.” That undoes the Shattering as to that Investiture. If so, any Shard can now Connect with it. Odium can change his Shard victims’ Investiture into his, rather than merely Splintering the power. This is a big deal. Permanent Investiture changes like this would upset the Shards’ balance. Brandon should clarify this WoB, or we’ll all have to revise our settled wisdom. Shard Magical Uniqueness [Theory] DISCLAIMER: Posters often use the non-canonical word “intent” to describe Shard magical uniqueness, but that term doesn’t distinguish between the role of the Shard’s Investiture and the role of its Vessel. Brandon has yet to canonize any term to express Shard magical uniqueness. Brandon says Shards are I read this important WoB to distinguish (i) the Shard’s unique magic from (ii) the Vessel’s mind that directs the Shard and cultural perceptions of the Shard. I theorize a Shard’s unchanging “primal force/fundamental law/something...natural” refers to the Connection that marks that Shard’s Investiture, its “spin or magnetism.” The quoted WoB identifies Ruin as the “charged term” for entropy and Preservation as the “charged term” for stasis. This other important WoB shows Honor grants his magic “through the filter of” bonds. Shard magical uniqueness IMO stems from this filter, this primal force/fundamental law Connection, not Vessel personality or cultural influence. Assigned Investiture [Theory] The Shattering caused all Investiture to be “assigned” to the Shard with the same “magnetism” as that Investiture: “Assigned” Investiture to me supports the Shard Connection theory. Without these magnetisms, these unique Connections, Shards couldn’t track their own or other Shards’ Investiture after it converts into matter or energy. Autonomy couldn’t find “a gathering of [assigned] Investiture” to create Avatars out of. IMO, Physical Realm matter, energy, and Investiture always Connects to the primal force/fundamental law that creates it regardless of its creator, Adonalsium or a Shard. Types of Magic Systems [Theory] There are two types of magic systems: “interaction with nature” systems, where mortals interact with the magic but can’t direct the magical effect; and Shard-created “people with magic” systems, where mortals can direct the magical effect. “People with magic” systems appear only on Major Shardworlds, where Shards reside. They result from magic users’ “greater strength of access to the magic, and control over it” on such planets. I believe Roshar’s pre-Shattering ecology and First of the Sun’s Aviar are “interaction with magic” systems. Allomancy, Awakening, and Surgebinding are “people with magic” systems. (Some posters name such systems an “Invested Art,” following Khriss.) Magic System Rules [Theory] With some exceptions, I believe all known “people with magic” systems follow the same general rules: 1. Magic users Intend some magical effect. 2. Magic users in most systems infuse their own energy into the magical process to activate it. Feruchemy and Breath transfers – two “end neutral” systems – activate solely on Intent. 3. The magic system uses that energy (or Intent) to summon Shard power from the Spiritual Realm (or Cognitive Realm for the Dor). Spren-based magic converts Physical Realm Investiture into power. 4. The magic user Focuses that power as it Invests them or an object. 5. The magic user directs the Focused power for the Intended magical effect. Khriss describes the magic system rules of Intent and Perception. (AU, “The Selish System,” Kindle pp. 18.) A magic user must Intend to make magic. Magic is a deliberate act. Perception refers to a culture’s influence on magic. On Sel, “language – or similar functions – directly shapes the magic as it is pulled from the Cognitive Realm and put to use.” The Role of Planets in Magic Systems [Theory] Brandon says a planet’s pre-Shattering magic (its “inherent Investiture”); the planet’s culture; and the local population’s sDNA all influence a planet’s magic systems. Most posters including me believe Focuses derive from the system’s planet. A Focus IMO substitutes for the mortal inability to think a magical effect into being (like Shards can). Besides “shaping the magic,” a Focus limits Investiture flow and prevents magic user vaporization. I think all three planetary influences contribute to that planet’s Focus. The Role of Shards in Magic Systems [Theory] I think these are Brandon’s most important statements about the Shards’ magical role: “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do,” “The means of getting powers…are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” “Honor doesn’t belong to gravity. But bonds, and how to deal with bonds, and things like this, is an Honor thing.” I read these WoBs to say Shards have two roles in magic systems: They determine how magic users (1) access Investiture, and (2) perform their magical abilities. IMO, magic systems grant access and performance through their Shard’s unique Connection, its primal force/fundamental law: Ruin magic users Intend an act of entropy. A Feruchemist converts their attributes into Investiture. A Hemalurgist spikes through Spiritual aspects. Nightblood destroys evil. Preservation magic users Intend an act of stasis. A Feruchemist returns to their prior state (the status quo) when they re-convert Investiture into attributes. An Allomancer pulls power down metal’s static molecular structure. Honor magic users Intend to enter a bond. A Surgebinder chooses to enter the Nahel bond. Windrunners “lash” (re-bond gravity) to fly. Brandon confirms those three Shards’ primal forces/fundamental laws. I speculate in the Appendix what others might be. Again, I believe a primal force/fundamental law is the “spin or magnetism” that Connects the Shard’s Investiture to its other Realmic states, including to its Vessel and magic users. “Pathways to Power” [Theory and Speculation] Investiture energizes magic. I believe magic systems move that energy down inter-Realmic power lines. Marasi sees Preservation’s metal “pathway to power” when she draws Investiture from the Bands of Mourning: Metal is Preservation’s pathway to power (and Scadrial’s Focus). It is not Preservation’s Investiture. From this example, I speculate other magic systems have their own pathways to power. Pathways generally have these characteristics: They aren’t made from Investiture. In several systems, the magic consumes the pathway. In these systems, the magic ends when the consumed pathway ends. Like metal’s static molecular structure ties to Preservation’s stasis, each Shard’s pathway also seems tied to its “spin or magnetism,” its primal force. I speculate about each Shard’s pathway in the Appendix. I believe pathways differ from Connections. Connections convey information. Pathways seem to convey Investiture. I think “pathways to power” overlap with Brandon’s “natural pathways.” The latter seem to refer to pre-programmed Investiture delivery methods: This WoB confirms magic generally follows natural pathways “built around Adonalsium” that the Shards now influence. Even pre-Shattering Physical Realm manifestations of Spiritual Realm Investiture break Realmic barriers somehow. To me, it makes Realmic sense magic systems might funnel Investiture through a natural pathway other than perpendicularities. Conclusion Like you, I seek cosmere truth. How does this stuff work? Because we don’t yet know cosmere truth, I ask you judge my theory by a three-part “validity” test: (1) Is the theory self-consistent, and does it fit together on its own terms? Would Pattern approve (hmmm)? (2) Is the theory consistent with text and WoBs? (3) Does the theory predict how newly-unveiled magic will work? Precedent suggests readers will focus on the Appendix, where I speculate about individual Shards and their magic systems. If past is prologue, I’ve made many mistakes for you to correct. But I prefer you focus on the main theory, the “big stuff.” The little stuff like magic systems will fall into place if we can get the big stuff right. If nothing else, consider this post red meat during these lean times between books. All the best. C. Appendix – Applications and Predictions [Speculation] The Spoiler applies the magic theory to each Shard with a known “people with magic” system. EVERYTHING in the Spoiler is raw to informed SPECULATION. (Probably true of the whole post, really...) Each time I update a theory, you help me plug more holes – (cough) Awakening – but I feel this iterative process gets us closer to cosmere truth. Here we go! Postscript – What If? I urge you all to read Brandon’s short story Perfect State. Few posters comment about it. In a Matrix-like world, each live human participates 24/7 in their own virtual reality simulation. Brandon’s penchant for foreshadowing makes me wonder: What if 16 virtual characters managed to kill the one live person (Adonalsium) in their simulation? Is the cosmere now a self-executing simulation? When Brandon releases Dragonsteel, will its epilogue show Hoid nattering about a computer program run amok and the failings of postmodern art?
  6. Nightblood is one of the most heavily Invested non-Shards in the cosmere. He grows more Invested each time he “destroys evil.” My best guess is this happens because Nightblood implements the cosmere’s Second Law of Thermodynamics. He is an entropy-creation machine that seeks thermodynamic equilibrium. Brandon says Nightblood holds Ruin’s Investiture. I think Nightblood uses Ruin to execute his “destroy evil” command. Ruin’s “primal force” is entropy. I don’t know what role if any Ruin had at Nightblood’s creation or why Nightblood would be so difficult to replicate. We do know Nightblood destroys in all three Realms, the ultimate act of entropy. I speculate Nightblood’s consumed Investiture increases his internal entropy. This Investiture seems to come from his victims’ Spiritual aspects. Spiritual aspects hold a person’s Connections, including (says Kelsier in M:SH Part Three-3) a Connection to “God,” that person’s native Shard. The consumed Investiture should thus be raw, stripped of all its Connections. In the cosmere, nothing is more disordered or has higher entropy than “dangerous” raw Investiture. That may be why Nightblood leaks smoke – the gaseous state is the most disordered. I think Nightblood ramps up his destruction and stops when he does to achieve thermodynamic equilibrium: “In thermodynamic equilibrium there are no net...flows of matter or of energy [or Investiture] between systems.” Nightblood sheathed is a closed system. When his wielder draws him, Nightblood is exposed to the outside environment, a different system. That environment is more ordered and has lower entropy. Nightblood acts to increase his environment’s entropy to bring his internal entropy into balance with it. His command to destroy evil accomplishes that. As Nightblood consumes his victims’ raw Investiture, his internal entropy increases. I think this causes him to accelerate his destruction. Eventually Nightblood either reaches thermodynamic equilibrium or his wielder sheathes him. When he stops killing, he retains the unused raw Investiture: “In all processes that occur...the total entropy of the system and its surroundings increases and the process is irreversible in the thermodynamic sense.” I believe this is why Nightblood grows in power over time. Not having studied science in fifty years, I’m probably wrong on all this. But I can’t think of another reason, and Brandon does love his thermodynamics. What do you cosmere scientists think?
  7. @Karger, I’m no more comfortable with the Stormfather’s explanation than the Eila Stele’s. The Stormfather IMO is an untrustworthy witness. He acknowledges this himself: I have questions the Stormfather’s memory doesn’t answer: Why would all non-Skybreaker “Radiants abandon their vows for that reason”? Wouldn’t a few think themselves incapable of such destruction? Loving/Healing Edgedancers don’t seem like destroyers. But even Edgedancers might see the honor in abandoning their vows after Melishi “killed” the Sibling and ended Singer transformations. Why would the Skybreakers NOT break their vows if fear of Roshar’s destruction is the reason? The Stormfather explains Honor’s role in the Recreance to Dalinar: Honor convinced Radiants they needed to fight to protect humans despite the human land grab. But not one Radiant convinced themselves or others this was still the case? And if a dying Honor “raved,” would every Radiant have trusted his word? Might some think Roshar needed the Radiants even more with Honor dying? The Stormfather’s explanations just don’t add up for me. What he says may be true, but not as justification for the Recreance and a mass oath breaking that immediately follows the Sibling’s slumber. I think something more happened to cause the Recreants to kill their spren, especially given the timing.
  8. @CrazyRioter and @RShara neatly destroyed my “Why the Sibling Slumbers” theory, but I upvoted their posts for setting me on the proper course-correction. WARNING: THIS “THEORY” CONTAINS INFORMED SPECULATION AND GUESSES. Summary Note the homophone in the OP’s title. The idea the name “Recreance” began as an epithet for the faithless, cowardly Knights Radiant - “the Recreants” - goes back at least to this 2012 post and others have periodically raised it. I buy this idea. I think the Radiants believed they acted in the only way they could. Melishi’s plan enslaved the Singers and stopped their transformations. When the Radiants learned this, nine of the orders concluded honor demands “a spren for a spren.” If Singers couldn’t bond spren and transform, Radiants wouldn’t bond spren either. Their own spren may even have agreed. Only the Skybreakers demurred, thinking the result “just.” Here’s the sequence of events that I think may have brought the Radiants down: False Desolation Begins – BAM Connects Voidlight to Singers by forging a Connection to the Sibling. Radiants Abandon Urithiru – Voidlight flowing through them causes the Sibling to “withdraw.” Strike Team Executes Melishi’s Plan – Radiants “kill” Sibling to cut BAM’s Connection to Singers. Recreance – Radiants discover what Melishi did and break their oaths. Only Skybreakers think this “just.” Gem Archives I think these are the most relevant gem archives: Sibling Personifies Gemheart Growth Process I think Roshar’s three great spren personify essential features of the Singer transformational life cycle: spren, gemhearts and the highstorm. IMO, these are the Eila Stele’s “spren, stone, and wind.” Gemheart Investiture leaks into the Physical Realm like atium. I think the Sibling personifies this process. Like the Stormfather distributes Stormlight, maybe the Sibling distributes gemheart Investiture. This Investiture grows gemhearts. The Sibling’s Withdrawal With no Everstorm, Voidlight during the False Desolation must have infused Singer gemhearts directly. BAM “Connected with the parsh people,” not just those with forms of power. To grow gemhearts, the Sibling must Connect to them. I speculate BAM used the Sibling’s Connections as her conduit for Voidlight infusion. I think this is when the Sibling began to withdraw. The Sibling metaphorically gagged on Voidlight. The Sibling’s Slumber Voidlight may have caused the Sibling’s withdrawal before Melishi, but the Stormfather blames humans for the Sibling’s slumber. A Radiant strike team executed Melishi’s plan. Whatever happened stopped Singer transformations. Parshmen no longer bonded spren. I speculate the Radiant strike team cut BAM’s Connection to Singer gemhearts by somehow cutting the Sibling’s Connection to Singer gemhearts. The sudden break in Connection shocked the Sibling into coma – “slumber.” (FWIW, Syl also uses the term "asleep" to describe her condition after her first Radiant died.) Gemheart Investiture still flows into gemhearts but it doesn’t seem to aid Singer transformation. The Recreants Maybe Singer enslavement is the true “wicked thing of eminence” that turns Radiants into Recreants. The Skybreakers felt the Sibling’s consciousness loss “just” payment to end the False Desolation. That order kept its oaths. Maybe the other nine orders felt Singer enslavement warranted a greater penalty. If Singers could not bond spren, neither would Radiants. These nine orders gave up their bond mates – perhaps in agreement with them – because they felt it was the honorable thing to do. I’ve never been comfortable with the Eila Stele’s Recreance explanation. It was translated by Taravangian’s ardents in Kharbranth and Jah Keved and served his political purposes. Its explanation to me doesn’t justify everyone but the Skybreakers breaking their oaths. This explanation does. The Knights Radiant fell in universal disgrace, forever tarnished as oath breakers. But I believe these Recreants did what they thought honor required of them.
  9. Summary I theorize the Sibling personifies some Singer idea related to the Singer transformational life cycle. Melishi’s enslavement of Singers deprived them of their ability to think and transform. Singers stopped having the idea they personified as the Sibling. This was about 2,000 years ago at the end of the False Desolation. IMO, humans did not personify the Sibling’s idea like they personified the ideas perceived as the Stormfather and Nightwatcher. With no culture personifying the Sibling, their decline began and they slipped into slumber. Analysis One of OB’s major themes is cultural imperialism. Former Ashynites invaded Roshar and sought to eradicate Singers and their culture. Even Everstorm-healed Singers retain their human masters’ culture. I think Brandon uses the metaphor of the Sibling’s slumber to represent human cultural oppression of the Singers. Spren personify perceived ideas. I think Roshar’s three great spren personify essential features of the native transformational life cycle: spren, gemhearts and the highstorm. IMO, these are the Eila Stele’s “spren, stone, and wind.” Maybe the Sibling personifies something other than gemhearts, but the Sibling must personify some idea. Singer culture, not human culture, first personified the great spren. Eshonai says the Rider of Storms was the listener’s friend before he became the human’s Stormfather. (WoR, Interlude I-5, Kindle pp. 395-396.) Maybe the Rider became the Stormfather when it merged with Tanavast’s Cognitive shadow. If the Old Magic precedes spren bonding, then the Nightwatcher also likely precedes the human invasion. I theorize humans didn’t stamp their culture on the Sibling like they did with the Stormfather and Nightwatcher. That makes sense if the Sibling personifies gemhearts. Humans don’t have them. Whatever the Sibling personifies seems to arise solely from Singer culture. And Melishi stole that culture from them: “’I don’t have traditions,’ Sah said [to Kal]. ‘Or society...’” (OB, Chapter 20, Kindle, p. 217.) Stripped of their ability to think and transform, Singers stopped personifying any ideas – and certainly those related to transformation. I believe Melishi’s actions began the Sibling’s “withdrawal” and decline: Just as Tinkerbell almost died when people stopped believing in fairies, I think the Sibling began its decline when Singers stopped personifying them. With Brandon hinting we’ll see the Sibling soon, I suspect the healed Singers are about to awaken the Sibling.
  10. I assume everyone here and on @TheFoxQR's thread knows “intent” is a non-canonical term. Its meaning seems to depend on who uses it. It also conflicts with the term “Intent (capital “I”), which is a canonical term that refers to the deliberate use of magic. Jofwu advocates for the terms “nature” and “expression” to describe Shard behavior. “Nature” refers to the Vessel-independent behaviors, and “expression” refers to Vessel-dependent behaviors. I’m okay with that classification, but I prefer Brandon’s words: “primal force/fundamental law” and “personality.” If “intent” has magical meaning, I believe it’s found in the Shard’s primal force, not the Vessel’s personality. “Primal force” IMO determines how a magic user accesses a Shard’s Investiture. The Vessel’s personality determines how it uses the Investiture it accesses. I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing from me about this stuff, and I don’t think I’ve persuaded a single one of you – yet. (Disappointing, but life moves on.) Here I just want to publicize the fact that “intent” has no commonly held meaning. Other terms may better describe what Shard “intent” theorists mean.
  11. You misread me. I too would be surprised if other Shard Investitures aren’t quantizable. But that’s not the test. The test is how magic users access a Shard’s Investiture. AFAIK, Endowment is the only one of the known Shards whose magic users access Investiture through quanta. Bonds as you point out are not unique to Honor, but only Honor’s magic users access Investiture through bonds. Entropy is not unique to Ruin, but only Ruin’s magic users access Investiture through entropy. Stasis is not unique to Preservation, but only Preservation’s magic users access Investiture through stasis. I believe this is what Brandon means when he says (bold added), “The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do,” and “The means of getting powers…are related to the Shards, but not the powers themselves.” This 2017 WoB shows what those WoBs mean in practice and eliminates any potential ambiguity from the earlier WoBs (IMO). My only point about fabrials is they are machines that manipulate cosmere forces. On Roshar these machines manipulate Surges. On Scadrial they manipulate the Metallic Arts. Maybe they also manipulate some cosmere-wide “soul manifestation” force. Do we really disagree about fabrials’ nature? Okay. I misread you. Here's my understanding of emotions. You are born. You emotionally attach to your mother, father, and other family members. Later you emotionally attach to lovers, friends, and acquaintances. You feel different emotions at different times toward each of them. IMO, each new feeling metaphorically etches a new Connection or changes an existing Connection on your Spiritual aspect’s raw Investiture. * * * * * It's always a pleasure to exchange ideas with you, Argent! Please look again at my main idea about the source of Shard behaviors. Even now, 18 months after the "primal force" WoB, there are two active Forum threads about Shard "intents" that don't even mention that important WoB. Regards!
  12. SUMMARY BUSINESS PLAN (As Founder Brandon Sanderson Predicts Endowment Wants) Presented to the Nalthis Breath Council by the Confused Consulting Group Introduction Thank you, Nalthis Breath Council (NBC), for this opportunity to present to you CCG’s ideas on how best to monetize Breaths. Nalthians are wise to have created this elected council to unify their interests in an organized Breath Market. The Breath market now is highly fragmented and dis-integrated. CCG believes all Nalthians will benefit from the enhanced value an organized market will bring them. Our proposed Business Plan focuses on the cosmere-wide sale of Breaths. We think now is the time to implement this plan while most Breaths remain on Nalthis. Our advice is to make NBC the sole cosmere source for buying and selling Breaths – a real-world monopolistic cartel like “earth’s OPEC.” (“OPEC” is a group mentioned in the famous fantasy novel Twentieth Century Earth). This Business Plan shows how NBC can accomplish that goal. Breath Benefits That Affect Value Breaths may be the cosmere’s most valuable freely-transferable asset – same-sized quanta of Endowment’s Investiture. Each Breath enhances its holder’s lifeforce. Breaths come only from Nalthis but can be transferred to anyone anywhere. New supply is limited to Nalthian births. Nalthians must give their Breaths willingly. That lessens the risk of Breath theft. Breaths enable their holder to animate (Awaken) objects. 2,000 Breaths make their holder functionally immortal. 50,000 Breaths make their holder the equivalent of a Hallendren God King. NBC Breath Exchange We recommend you form the NBC Breath Exchange to let the market price Breaths rather than set an arbitrary price. The Exchange should be the sole cosmere market for Breaths. The NBC should require buyers and sellers to conduct all Breath transfers through the Exchange. The NBC may choose to exempt intra-family transfers, inheritances, and at-the-moment-of-death transfers. NBC should ban all private Breath sales that fall outside these exemptions. The Breath Black Market To ensure the Exchange works as intended, the NBC must take steps to eliminate smuggling and the black market in Breaths. Currently, the Tears of Edgli are the only way to enter Nalthis, but future technologies may change that. We recommend for now NBC monitor visitor traffic through the Tears. Each person must leave Nalthis with the same number of Breaths they held on entry or account for the discrepancy with NBC-certified papers. We recommend you station strong Awakeners at the Tears to count the Breaths and enforce anti-smuggling laws. We urge the NBC to capture the bandit and murderer Vasher and his cohort the former Princess Vivenna of Idris. This notorious pair has eluded all previous efforts to find and restrain them. Together they hold many thousands of Breaths. They are criminals, but our concern is the potential market disruption if they choose to dump their Breaths onto the market. NBC Revenue Streams CCG foresees NBC generating revenue from commissions and other fees on each Breath transfer. CCG anticipates NBC’s efforts will have increased Breath value enough that buyers and sellers won’t mind paying these commissions and fees. Spinoff Business Revenues CCG recommends NBC expand its business model to augment its Breath marketing business and generate substantial additional revenues. Some examples: Breath storage devices. CCG anticipates NBC will hold very large Breath reserves. It may be unfeasible for NBC officials to hold and carry these Breaths personally. These Breaths don’t belong to them in any event. If something unexpectedly happens to an NBC Breath holder, NBC could lose those Breaths. Developing Breath storage technology mitigates this risk. Such technology should allow for multiple NBC officials to retrieve these Breaths, perhaps through an Awakening password created and shared by the person who stores the Breaths. Awakening Training. NBC should sell Awakening training services to Breath purchasers. Breath Financing. As Breaths increase in value, individuals may lack sufficient capital to purchase them. We recommend NBC form the NBC Investment Bank to develop financing options for individual purchases. These options may include purchases on margin, installment contracts, and other payment plans. Security Consulting. NBC has unique expertise it could package and market to Breath holders to ensure Breath safety and security. Exclusive Transportation Rights. NBC should retain the right to transport Breaths to the buyer. While this is a sensible security feature, NBC’s transportation monopoly provides it an additional, independent revenue stream. Other Issues Private Equity Breath Purchases We anticipate promoters will form business entities to consolidate Breath investor capital. These private equity firms could accumulate huge numbers of Breaths. These firms’ buy/sell strategies could adversely affect market efficiencies or otherwise compete with NBC’s financing business. To avoid this, we recommend NBC bar corporate ownership of Breaths or limit the number of Breaths such entities can own. Ethical Issues Some may question the propriety of establishing an organized market in human souls. They may see Breath transfers as immoral, taking part of a human life, or even soul slavery. CCG recommends NBC develop strategies to combat these perceptions including in-school education programs and massive advertising campaigns. The latter might highlight the enormous financial benefits that enhanced Breath values yield to Nalthian society. Legal Issues As the price for Breaths increases, Nalthians may choose to have more children and harvest their Breaths. This will lead to more drabs in society. From their Breath sale, each drab should have enough wealth not to burden society, but the NBC should monitor this situation closely. If necessary, the NBC should enact laws that prescribe the minimum age a person may sell their Breaths; ensure payment benefits the child and not the parent; and otherwise preclude child abuse through Breath deprivation. Effect of Mass Murder, War, and Other Catastrophes Some unscrupulous investors may try to inflate Breath values through the mass murder of Nalthians. The villains Vasher and Vivenna use this tactic with the Awakened sword Nightblood. Terrorist attacks can occur too swiftly to collect the Breaths of the murdered Nalthians. Nightblood reportedly destroys every part of those it kills including their Breaths. War, disease, and natural disasters can also materially reduce the Breath supply. We recommend the NBC maintain a large Breath reserve at all times. If any of these events occur, the NBC can stabilize pricing by putting part of the reserved Breaths back on the market. (In the fantasy novel Twentieth Century Earth, a fictional country called the U.S.A. kept a strategic carbon-based fuel reserve to guard against OPEC disruption of the fuel supply.) Conclusion NBC contacted us when founder Brandon Sanderson concluded Endowment wishes to encourage the growth of the Nalthian Breath market. We believe this NBC Business Plan offers the best means of accomplishing that goal with the least friction to the existing Breath market. CCG designed the NBC Business Plan to maximize NBC revenues. We did so on the assumption NBC will re-distribute the bulk of its operating profits to native Nalthians. Getting buy-in from native Nalthians through this unity of interest is essential for the Plan’s ultimate success.
  13. Excellent analysis, @Blightsong! I like your idea Melishi had other plans for BAM than a gemstone prison. Here are some unsupported, fanciful thoughts to play with. WHAT IF ... 1. Melishi is not a Bondsmith but “Ishi’Elin” – Ishar, the Binder of Gods himself. Ishar’s power during the False Desolation is greater than any Bondsmith because Honor still lives. 2. BAM is not an Unmade but a human who serves as the Sibling’s Bondsmith. Hessi describes BAM as “keen of mind, a highprincess among the enemy forces, their commander during some of the Desolations.” Except for Sja-anat (maybe), none of the Unmade seem “keen” – certainly not keen enough to command armies. This raises doubt BAM is an ancient Unmade. 3. BAM switches sides to help the Singers and leads them in the False Desolation. BAM’s “keenness” makes me question whether BAM led Singers in earlier Desolations (at least 2,500 years before) despite what Hessi says. Maybe? 4. BAM literally sells her soul to Odium to become an Unmade with access to Voidlight. BAM uses her bond with the Sibling to Connect Voidlight to the Singers via their gemhearts. The Fused seem to get Voidlight through their possessed body’s gemheart. But could BAM keep her bond to the Sibling when she’s Unmade, even (hypothetically) with Cultivation’s help? A mixed soul? 5. Melishi/Ishar forcibly bonds the Sibling to himself to cut off Singer access to Voidlight. Ishar’s assault breaks BAM’s bond to the Sibling and pushes the Sibling into “slumber.” Singer gemhearts no longer work, and Singers lose their ability to bond spren and transform. If the Stormfather slumbered, would the highstorms still distribute Stormlight? Idk. 6. Voidlight slips into Ishar before BAM’s bond breaks. It makes him more crazy than torture alone does. Through the Oathpact’s Connection among Heralds, the other Heralds’ insanity intensifies. As Cognitive Shadows made wholly of Honor’s Investiture, Voidlight can’t be good for the Heralds. And poor BAM! What did Ishar do to her, and where is she now? I end with a question about the False Desolation: Even with Voidlight, how do Singers gain forms of power? I presume living Singers did not suddenly drop dead and rise again as Fused. My guess is these were Regal forms of power granted by voidspren, not the power to bind Surges. Even with Voidlight, how do voidspren manifest on Roshar with the Oathpact still in effect? SLA shows how much humans can forget. Singer gemhearts are hidden. Listener Shattered Plains corpses ended eaten or in the chasms. Humans wouldn't even think to look for a gemheart in the listeners. P.S. – Blightsong, when you quote WoBs, could you please include the linked source in the quote box? Thanks!
  14. Roshar is “a created planet” in a system “manufactured for a specific purpose.” I hypothesize Roshar’s purpose requires its three Great spren to grow the planet faster than is normally possible. The Stormfather (nee Rider of Storms) energizes growth with Stormlight. The Nightwatcher manifests growth by using Stormlight to transform spren from their Cognitive to their Physical Realm aspect. The Sibling IMO supports and enhances animal growth through gemhearts. Singers need three things for their transformational life cycle: Stormlight, spren, and a gemheart. I hypothesize each Great spren personifies Singer pre-Shattering perception of these three necessities. The Stormfather and Nightwatcher are the source of Stormlight and spren (IMO). Stormlight enables a spren to enter a gemheart and manifest in the Physical Realm as a Singer form. The spren Connects to the Singer’s Spiritual aspect through the Singer’s gemheart. This Singer mechanic predates the Shattering. Almost all Roshar’s creatures have “some sort of gemheart.” Gemhearts are composed of Investiture leaked into the Physical Realm. Gemhearts allow spren to enhance Greatshells, skyeels, and Rhyshadium. Most Rosharan gemstones are made from gemhearts, but some gemstones occur naturally. I propose the Sibling is the source of gemhearts. IMO, the gemstone-encrusted pillar in Urithiru’s basement IS the Sibling, or at least its Physical Realm manifestation. Renarin tells Navani’s scribes, “They’re not fabrials. They’re a fabrial.” (OB, Chapter 44, Kindle p. 455.) I think Renarin makes two points: (1) the Sibling is non-binary (“they” is singular), and (2) the pillar is the Great spren inside the Urithiru fabrial. Kalami’s team fails “to infuse the gemstone pillar.” (OB, Chapter 44, Kindle p. 454.) The pillar remains inert – “slumbering.” I agree with those who believe the Sibling is the Spren of Stone. I think the Spren of Stone personifies the Rosharan continent after Adonalsium built it through fractal mathematics principles. Sixth of the Dusk Spoiler: I think fractals are Autonomy’s “primal force.” Gemstones are fractals. Brandon says Autonomy’s assigned Investiture sits on Roshar. I believe the Spren of Stone is a potential Autonomy Avatar. Many disagree. If I’m right, it would explain why the Stormfather calls the Sibling “they” and Brandon hints the Sibling is non-binary: Autonomy too is non-binary. It makes sense to me each Great spren personifies a different aspect of the Singer life cycle. Singers first personified the Great spren. It also makes sense that Great spren Investiture comes from three different Shards – and Odium is not one of them. @RShara and others feel Brandon wouldn’t introduce a fourth Shard into SLA, mostly for narrative reasons. Two answers: First, Autonomy may not have an active or on-screen role. That Shard may only become Roshar-relevant later in the cosmere story and maybe never. Second, I feel Brandon does foreshadow Autonomy on Roshar. He specifically mentions Autonomy’s Rosharan Investiture in a WoB about the Patji Avatar. Brandon inserts this tidbit without any context, as if he were glad to drop an obscure breadcrumb. Regardless of the Sibling’s composition, they do seem associated with gemhearts. The fabrial magic system needs both spren and gemstones, plus human design. Fabrials to me are an Autonomy-Cultivation combo system, fronted by the Sibling and Nightwatcher.
  15. “Upset the Balance of the Oathpact” Argent’s last cited WoB probably disproves my OP’s theory, but I don’t buy the alternatives. If Ishar was concerned Radiants would siphon Honor’s power, he would have said so. But his concern was the balance of the Oathpact. A Shard’s Investiture is unimaginably vast. Radiant access to that Investiture wouldn’t even be noticeable. I doubt even Herald access is more than a Nano-drop of the whole. Argent recognizes this problem with his theory. I don’t think diverting Honor’s Investiture to Radiants helps Odium free himself. Ishar’s concern is the Oathpact. Argent correctly points out the Oathpact doesn’t bind Odium. It binds the Fused and voidspren, blocking their Cognitive path into Roshar’s subastral. IMO, freeing the Fused and voidspren from Braize is the first step in Odium’s plan. The Fused and Singers defeating humans is the second. I speculate Odium destroying Roshar is the third and final step. I think Odium’s prison ties to Roshar, not Braize; or at least Roshar is his path out of Braize. Otherwise, there’s no need for Desolations. Odium’s Prison – “Unite Them” HOW Odium’s imprisoned remains the mystery. I keep thinking there’s something in this epigraph: Surges are Rosharans’ perception of the cosmere’s fundamental forces. Calling Surges the “bonds that drive Roshar” to me implies these forces hold Roshar together. Honor is the Shard that makes magic through bonds. Without Honor to regulate the balance of these forces, maybe “things fall apart [and] the center cannot hold”? I feel (without much evidence) that uniting the Surges somehow creates a mutually-supporting superstructure that binds Odium to Roshar. It would take the full binding power of all Roshar’s fundamental forces to pin Odium there. I suspect binding the Surges together will fall on Dalinar, given this foreshadowing: There’s two bits of vague evidence for uniting the Surges. One is this WoK, Chapter 9 Epigraph: Not much, I know. The second bit is Honor’s Double Eye. All the lines meet in the middle where there’s no reason to meet. When you put all the ideals together, representing all the Roshar-perceived fundamental forces, MAYBE you can imprison Odium. Ico’s Fear For convenience, here’s the quote again: Of all the explanations for Ico’s fear, I now side with @ScavellTane's: No Radiant spren is 100% Honor despite what each thinks. Glys highlights the risk Odium will subvert Radiant spren and “take over the magic system.” I also agree with @ZenBossanova that the risked disaster is another Ashyn. Divine Attributes I think there’s some misunderstanding about Divine Attributes. Posters comment here and elsewhere that Attributes are cultural, not mechanical, or are too closely tied to the Vorin perspective of Heralds. I feel these comments overlook Roshar’s unique magical environment. The Attributes ARE cultural. When asked about the lines crisscrossing the Double Eye, Brandon said, But on Roshar, culture MAKES the Divine Attributes mechanical. Of all known planets, only on Roshar does Cognitive Realm perception become Physical Realm reality. Syl confirms Radiant spren personify the Divine Attributes: Radiant spren are an essential Surgebinding mechanic. Through the Nahel bond, a cultural ideal grants a right-minded mortal the power of a god. @Calderis, you say my “Fifth Oath” ideas about the Divine Attributes are too “formulaic”: I think you undervalue your own point that oath expression varies by spren and Radiant. Same-order Radiants won’t have the same journey regardless of common Attributes. To protect, Teft has to overcome his addiction. Kaladin has to overcome his “god complex” that he must (and can) protect everyone. Each Windrunner candidate has their own brokenness to contend with. Same for all Radiants. That doesn’t mean their Attributes differ. Attributes are ideals that IMO mark the journey’s start and end points for each order, not the journey itself. All honorspren seek a Windrunner candidate for whom protecting others is paramount. If their candidate never learns leadership (as subjectively determined by the spren and candidate), that candidate will never achieve the Fifth Oath.