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  1. or Feruchemy Makes No Rusting Sense Given Pure Canonical Explanation And Here's a Theory To Fix That (FMNRSGPCEAHTTFT) Preface Thanks to @Calderis for helping me make this theory over a year ago and agreeing with an error in feruchemy that I had suspected. Thanks to all those other cremlings wonderful people in the Shard who kept encouraging me to write this (because apparently just referencing an unwritten theory is not okay.) Also, as a side note, I'm probably not going to reference any relevant WoBs or book passages, at least at the initial posting of this, partially because this is dealing with conceptual points not directly covered by any particular WoBs or passages and partially because I'm just lazy. I might add WoBs later on however. tl;dr: Feruchemy doesn't entirely work given the explanation along with a number of effects in other magic system. Thankfully my theory makes up for those deficiencies and explains them within a realmatic model I've theorized. (If you thought I was actually going to summarize this, you were wrong. Just read the post, it's not that long you chull.) Note: Despite the amount of content devoted to it, the focus of this theory isn't actually on feruchemy and some over-exaggerated wrong it possesses. The middle section is the important bit overall. Feruchemy Makes No Sense Before you all skip to the end and start writing paragraphs and quoting books at me to explain how feruchemy works, let me just say this: I do know how it works. The basics, as I'm sure everyone is aware, are quite simple: a feruchemists stores an attribute into a metalmind, losing it proportionally for a time while storing, then later that metalmind can be tapped, which withdraws the attribute and adds it to the feruchemist's baseline. Now, the most important part of feruchemy is the idea that it's "End-Neutral." In other words it's governed by the idea that the amount of attribute withdrawn is, in a normal setting, exactly equal to the amount of attributed lost. The issue though is that you're only losing the amount of attribute during the storing process and that process can be done for as long as you'd like. This makes no sense because investiture/energy/matter in the Cosmere should be preserved. Converting an attribute to investiture makes sense as a one-time process which makes you lose that attribute permanently until tapped as that amount of attribute is then physically or spiritually gone then restored, a true conservation. However, feruchemy isn't that and would frankly suck if it was. Instead you're losing an amount of attribute and remaining in that diminished state while investiture is allocated into a metalmind at a constant rate for some arbitrary duration of time with no further loss of attribute after that initial start. Finally, when you stop storing you regain that lost amount of attribute and the flow of investiture ceases. In other words, you're not converting a fixed amount into another fixed amount as is usually portrayed, but you're actually converting a fixed amount into rate of change over time. This is not how conservation of anything works. You can no more do this than trade a piece of wood for a rate of change in local thermal energy over time only to regain that piece of wood once you decide you have enough energy. As such, feruchemy makes no sense for the dominant explanations, or rather the explanations aren't fully complete. Finally, another issue with feruchemy are the actual Physical and Spiritual changes that the feruchemists undergoes while storing and tapping. Generally speaking, there exists the idea in Realmatic Theory that to create a change to a person's Physical, Cognitive, or Spiritual components there must be a cost of investiture to induce this change. This is generally supported by observation of Roshar's soulcasting where stormlight is used to change an entity from one essence to another or in soulforgery where the channeling of the Dor induces a retcon of an entity's history and therefore a change in its present. Now while the latter example doesn't actually fit this idea, feruchemy really doesn't since it also induces these changes during the storing and tapping processes for some variants. One obvious example is pewter feruchemy where the attribute of physical strength is observably lost or gained as a decrease or increase in physical musculature. Given the idea that these changes must be associated with an investiture cost, this makes feruchemy make even less sense as there is now also a hidden investiture alteration cost that is somehow being paid whenever storing or tapping starts and finishes. Thankfully this issue is actually non-existent per this theory and will be explained for both feruchemy and numerous other similar effects in the Cosmere. How This Theory Saves the Day At this point we're a large number of words into this theory and you're probably wondering what Background Investiture is. (or maybe you've forgotten those two words in the title and the title has scrolled off screen already due to length and your tab isn't big enough to read it, it's okay I'm not offended) Allow me to explain it then. Background Investiture is term I've completely made up (this means don't go around using it like it's canonical) and is a theoretical massive source of investiture which exists in the background of the Cosmere and is probably located within the Spiritual Realm. This massive body of investiture is basically responsible for everything in the Cosmere appears and is interacted with. To explain how Background Investiture does this, we're going to take another step backwards and reconsider what an entity is realmatically. In this theory, I'm proposing that realmatic entity, be they person or thing, is comprised of two elements: the Framework and the Manifestation. The Framework, as the name implies, is a spiritual and cognitive structure which dictates how the Manifestation appears (basically the spiritweb, but I'm avoiding actually using that term due to preconceived baggage it will bring.) Generally, the Framework would be imperceptible. On the other hand, the Manifestation is the part of the entity which is outwardly perceived in all three realms. It is formed from Background Investiture filling the Framework. However, any investiture which fill the Framework is temporary, returning instantaneously to rejoin the greater Background Investiture and replaced at the same time. In other words, you can consider the Manifestation to be a flowing stream of investiture shaped by the Framework. At this point you're probably following along pretty well so far, but you might have thought of something which disproves this theory: if this framework is in part the spiritual ideal and entities are constantly being formed using it why aren't people constantly being reset to their ideal form, instantly healing physical wounds and the like? To rectify this problem, I'm going to further expand on the relationship between the Framework and the Manifestation and establish two rules governing that relationship. 1. The Manifestation Replaces the Manifestation As I said earlier, investiture forms the Manifestation and is constantly getting replaced as the investiture forming it at one point in time is returned to the Background Investiture in the next instance. Replace is a specifically chosen term, as an important facet is that when the Manifestation is being updated it does so based on the previous state of the Manifestation, meaning that any changes to the Manifestation, such as physical injuries, are preserved. This does mean then that the Manifestation can grow to be different than how the Framework wants it to be. To rectify these differences however, the Framework then slowly changes to conform to the new shape of the Manifestation to bring them both into alignment. To liken this to a realmatic example, healing in the Cosmere can be thought of as forcibly update the current Manifestation to the Framework, removing those injuries from the Manifestation and the replacements as time goes forward. However, as shown in canon, if enough time passes then healing becomes impossible due to cognitive perception and acceptance of those injuries. In this model this results in the Framework changing to match those injuries in the Manifestation and therefore preventing the injuries from healing as there is no record for a Manifestation to form without an injury. 1a. Where There's a Will There's a Way An exception to the rule that the Framework conforms to the Manifestation, it is possible for an entity to induce or maintain a discrepancy between their Manifestation and their Framework. The cognitive component of the Framework can be influenced by extremely strong cognitive perception to create or maintain those discrepancies. Examples of this can be seen Lopen's arm which was missing for a long time yet still could regrow, or a trans person able to using healing to transition themselves. 2. External Writing to the Framework Causes Local Reboots There are two ways for the Framework to be changed. The first is as noted above, when lack of alignment between the Manifestation and the Framework slowly forces the Framework to change to be aligned again. However, in the second case is when some external force, such as one the myriad magic systems in the Cosmere, causes a change to the Framework. When this happens the parts of the Manifestation relating to the parts of the Framework altered are immediately updated to conform to the new state of the Framework. This can cause abrupt and unnatural changes in the Manifestation. An example of this would be soulcasting which causes a severe change to the Framework of the target to change what it says the material properties of the entity is, resulting then in a sudden change in that entity's Manifestation which is usually observed as a change in physical realm. The investiture to soulcasting is then what is needed to change the Framework of the target not its Manifestation, with the change in Manifestation and appearance being a natural result of that change. There is no actual external investiture cost required to change the Manifestation, only the Framework, if the process to change it requires investiture. Feruchemy Makes Sense (Except for Steel) So now we're back to where we started, and with Background Investiture it properly conserves investiture. You've probably figured out how this is going to go but I'm going to lay out anyways. Background Investiture is the source of the investiture which invests metalminds. Under the Framework and Manifestation model part of the investiture relating to the specific attributes is usurped instead of being part of the Manifestation proper and is diverted into the metalmind where it is trapped rather than returning to the greater Background Investiture collective as is normal. When a feruchemists taps a metalmind the investiture in it adds itself to their Manifestation then returns to the Background Investiture collective. In this sense feruchemy is properly End-Neutral as it is taking investiture that would be normally part of the feruchemist and is storing it elsewhere then tapping it for use at a later point, as is described. Investiture has been conserved once more and the Cosmere has been saved. applause Other Issues and Points Explained by This Theory Herein I'm going to briefly discuss how a few other observed effects in the Cosmere are explained by this theory. Spoilered because this post is getting way too long. Savantism Hemalurgy Shardblade Wounds and Awakening Soulforgery Worldhopping Concluding Statement Thank you for reading my first (and probably last) write-up of a major theory regarding the Cosmere. I hope that the point I was trying to make was clear enough, if not feel free to ask for clarifications in the comments. Feel free as well to offer any thoughts you have on the matter as well. Once again, thank you to those unnamed (Calderis) people who helped me develop this theory. Post-Notes A place for any miscellaneous thoughts I might have for those who managed to make it all the way to the end of this post. (I seriously can't believe you made it through this ramble.) Example: You may have noticed that this theory seems to be more about the Framework and the Manifestation than Background Investiture and might be a better topic name. This is a fair observation. Replies To Sharders A place for me to link any comments or replies which I think are significantly meaningful to this topic. Probably will stay empty though. Calderis points out here and here that it is possible per WoB for someone's cognitive perception to actually induce what would be a change in the Framework, in this case making someone trans transition, which would allow healing to actually transition them. Adding this as Rule 1a.