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There's not a lot to this theory beyond speculation, but I was watching the Shardcast where they go over the Word of Brandon that states that Nightblood is related to Ruin in a "non-trivial way". That got me thinking about the way Nightblood's frenzies are written - they really remind me of the scenes where Ruin is enraged/showing his true self in HoA and Secret History. Bearing in mind the fact that the Five Scholars were Worldhoppers who at the very least travelled to Roshar, I think its reasonable to assume they visited Scadrial too (I believe there's a WoB about interplanetary travel occurring on Scadrial at least as far back as the Lord Ruler's time). We also know that they got the inspiration for Nightblood from observing Shardblades on Roshar in their travels. As scholars, I imagine they did a thorough examination of the Blades and were probably aware that they were all alloys of godmetals (Cultivation's + Honor's). So when they went off to create their own via Awakening, they may have used ordinary steel - but they might also have tried to use something more powerful (and similar in composition to the weapons they were trying to emulate). Now imagine they're on their way back from Roshar and already thinking about how to make their own Shardblade. Unfortunately, godmetals aren't generally that common or accessible (in that state) on most planets in the cosmere. An exception to this, at least in the era when the Five Scholars were travelling together, is Scadrial. In fact, the perpendicularity to Scadrial at the time was the Pits of Hathsin, which just so happens to be filled with Ruin's godmetal. As well as being relatively easily accessible, there may have been (perceived) mechanical advantages to choosing Ruin's specific godmetal too. Since they intended to create a Blade to "Destroy evil", which better metal to use than the one made from the Shard whose Intent is as destructive as it gets. It might have seemed like a clever way to harness Ruin's destructive potential for good (which obviously didn't go quite as planned). There may be more properties specific to atium that were beneficial - perhaps it's relation to Fortune/Connection helps with luring in those with evil/detecting evil. One immediate issue I observed with this theory was the act of Awakening itself - we don't know if its possible to Awaken a godmetal but the rule of thumb has been that highly Invested objects resist cosmere magic - be it Surgebinding or Awakening. Given that atium is literally solid Ruin Investiture it would probably be extremely resistant. While its possible that they didn't use pure atium - they could have made an alloy of it and ordinary metal or something of the sort - there is a WoB that offers an alternative explanation. We know that Endowment herself had a direct hand in the creation of Nightblood. I'm not sure of the exact words, but I believe she assisted the Scholars without their knowledge for her own purposes. Until now, I had assumed this was just because Awakening steel/creating a weapon that powerful was beyond the Five Scholars, but maybe the real obstacle was in Awakening a godmetal. If this is true, then endowing a blade of atium with enough Breaths to Awaken it would essentially make the Blade an alloy of Ruin + Endowment's Investiture, much as Shardblade's are alloys of Cultivation + Honor's.