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  1. Wow, it's been a while since I've posted a new "Letters from the Cosmere" they added a whole new Form to post to! Several months ago I lost my Hard Drive which gave out from overwork. With it, I lost my Thumbnails, notes, and Cosmere Art. This setback required and lengthy recovery but we are finally done! Look forward to the return of Letters from the Cosmere! Forgery is by far the most interesting of the Cosmere's magic systems. it does something that no other Investiture (currently known) can do, alter the past. These changes are temporary and require an intimate understanding of the person or object that is to be affected. So what exactly is happening when a Forger applies a seal? Here is the full transcript: Of the many wonders of the Cosmere, Forgery is by far the most fascinating that I have ever come across. Forgers by the nature of their craft must reach a heightened understanding of realmic theory and the fundamental nature of the Cosmere. I suspect that Forgers can be numbered as some of the earliest metaphysical scholars in the post Yolan Cosmere. Forgery is the expense of Sel Investiture into the Spiritual Nature of an intelligent entity, changing its connection and Spiritual History. This change cascades into the Cognitive Intelligence of the object and subsequently changes the nature of the Objects Cognitive form. This change is then reflected in the Physical realm. As you are likely aware, cognitive and physical changes are relatively common in the Cosmere, especially on Roshar where Soul casting provides the clearest example of this quantum relationship. However, the ability to affect the Spirit Web of an intelligence is far rarer, especially in such specific and dramatic ways. I appreciate that the mechanics of Forgery can be complex so I will attempt to break them down in the simplest way I can manage. I have read your most current studies into the Spiritual Aspects of Ferrochemy and your understanding of these arts will be the cornerstone of this letter. In Ferrocheme the practitioner can store up the spiritual manifestation of concepts like Fortune, Identity, and Connection. With the storage and pulling of these aspects, the Ferrochemist twists their spirit web, which changes the way intelligent beings interact with them. (Note: intelligences are a reference to both animate and inanimate objects that have a cognitive presence.) This alters the flow of Investiture, power, and even pluck at the strings of fate. Yes, I was surprised to discover that fate is essentially a reality of the Cosmere. When we have Slivers, who can see the future it can be nearly impossible to outmaneuver their plans. Yet Investiture by its nature can change fate by altering the paths taken, dispelling the idea of absolute fate in favor of a dynamic collection of branching conductor fields of existence. But I am getting ahead of myself. While the ability to manipulate the Spirit Web through Ferrochemy holds incredible potential, these changes are situational and are typically time-locked. While a metal mind does effectively shuttle attributes and investiture through time, they can only store at one point, to then be used at a future time. A Ferrochemist may be able to influence his luck through storage of or drawing out of fortune, they cannot change the events of the past. Forgery takes this into the realm of Quantum entanglement, and actually pushed an objects spirit web into a parallel potentiality of the past, accessing metaphysical information that is beyond the barrier of time dilation. By all accounts this should be impossible. In fact, I haven’t come across any accounts of Shards actively altering reality by manipulating the Spirit Web backward in time. This is a disturbing and fascinating discovery that I feel many of my fellow scholars have overlooked. It can be easy to overlook considering the Cosmere is filled with apparent exceptions to the rules. But Reaching back against the flow of time opens the doors to staggering implications in the realm of Physics and Realmac Theory. Even with my extensive years of study I feel I can barely brush against the momentous truths that this revelation brings. Naturally, this process is temporary in the best of times, often these changes cannot maintain themselves longer than a day without needing to apply another crafted stamp. The process likely devours investiture at an incredible rate to maintain an effective bubble of altered time along the object’s or person’s past. Despite the incredible powers that I will sound be outlining, keep in mind that the physical limitation of Selian magic and the likely persistent need for Investiture limits the long-term effects of these powers. Perhaps there are work arounds but as of now, I am unaware of any practical methods of changing the current status quo. As for the mechanics of this miraculous transformation, they are fairly straight forward. Ironic considering the implications of what this power is actually doing to the Cosmere. The Forger creates what is called a stamp out of a stable material. The best materials are those that can be shaped with delicate patterns but then be baked or locked into a ridged shape that is unlikely to break. Often a template is created for stamps that are intended to be maintained over a length of time so new stamps can be crafted and imprinted routinely. Understanding the culminated history of the person or object that is to be forged is critical in the development of a stamp that is stable enough. Forgers remark on the need of believability for such changes to be made with any sense of stability. I feel that the underlying issue is a result of the instability inherent in the creation and sustaining of time opposing attractor fields. The closer such realities are to the tangible timeline the less investiture the time/space warping costs. By extension, the more likely a history of an object is to the Forger’s desired form, the more stable the stamps can be. For instance, it is nearly impossible to stamp iron into gold by trying to change the metals physical nature. Rather the Forger should learn about the mine where the iron was collected and alter the mines location or change the nature of the trade service that provided the metal. These changes work off an understanding that a mistaken delivery or a production order being placed with a different mine in the same region is far more likely that altering the planets metallic formation. Even so, these changes are likely too unstable to be useful. Intense study and reasoning is required to make any changes. This is why stamps that restore an object rather than replace it are far more common. Once a stamp has been completed, an individual simply applies the stamp to the surface of the object (usually in an inconspicuous location) where the stamp begins to activate. A properly crafted stamp will resonate with the identity of the object it has been crafted for and will start to bond with it. From my studies, it can be assumed that the stamp at this point begins to bond through all three realms simultaneously which is why it seems to meld into the surface of the object without physically altering or damaging it. The stamp is then locked into place and activated. If crafted properly the stamp will take and the alterations will take hold almost immediately. Forgery has perhaps the most boundless of practical and fantastical uses of all the Investiture based magic that I have ever seen. However, it also has some of the harshest limitations. Firstly, it is one of the Selian magics which is locked to the geographical location of its native continent. The farther away from its homeland the weaker these stamps become. Perhaps with artificial identity and connection methods, this barrier could be overcome much like how the Ire must exist. Yet there are other issues. Often the practitioner needs an intimate knowledge of an objects or person’s history. This would be difficult for a worldhopper who hasn’t spent decades living on worlds like Roshar or Taldain which have very different geological and physical histories as planets let alone their cultures and technology. Furthermore, the need for a consistent source of Investiture is a large issue. Perhaps a scholar far cleverer than I will find a way to let a stamp feed off a local source of investiture like Rosharian Stormlight, but such knowledge eludes me for the moment. Not to say that it’s impossible but using stamps off of Sel seems unlikely to me given Sels unusual Investiture situation. I trust this letter finds you well, considering everything that is going on. The Cosmere continues to be a realm of conflict and struggle for both men and gods. Yet as we continue to peel back the layers of mysticism surrounding the Shards I feel we will eventually see wonders beyond our current reckoning. Give my best to Harmony. Elsric P.S. I just acquired some new books in one of the trading posts I passed through on my way to visit Roshar, look forward to a real treat when I return.
  2. Spoiler Alert for Mistborn and Stormlight We are back after a very very long hiatus! This week we will look at an excerpt from Elsric's Allomantic Thesis Papers where he discusses the powers of Allomancy in depth. Today we look at the external emotional allomancy fueled by Zinc and Brass. These metals have yet to be explored to their fullest potential. Perhaps Brandon has some secrets he is keeping to himself for the moment. Let's speculate the majesty and wonder of emotional manipulation. A shout out to the wonderful artists who keep letting me share their work, you guys are the best! Transcript + Bonus Preface Preface: This excerpt is not a part of Elsric’s original publication. Instead, this was a missive that he sent to the other university professors who questioned his status in Silverlight. I’m sure he meant this to be reassuring but as usual, he couldn’t help running his mouth. It’s a trait we share. (You should listen to our dinner conversations) I have decided to submit this to the compendium rather than the officially published essay on Brass and Zinc which are about the length of a novel all on their own. You should see him running about the campus, it's a wonder he finds time to sleep considering how excited he is. I am afraid that I have cheated my way onto the greater Cosmere. Many members of the World hoppers and the citizens of Silverlight must work long and hard to find themselves able to travel and survive in the spaces between worlds. Finding your way into the Cognitive realms is relatively easy, but surviving in this realm? Now that takes a little bit of luck and a lot of tenacity. However, I have found it easy to adapt and even to thrive in this harsh environment. If I had traveled alone I doubt I would have lasted a month. Cooperation and mutual gain are the means to civilization and long-term survival on the frontier. Dear Kassar is quick to point out that my talents in regards to persuasion and manipulation are more or less cheating considering how easily I make people dance to my whims. Such are the effects of properly wielded emotional alomancy. I remember when I first explained to Kassar the art of Brass and Zinc burning. On Scadrial there are many accounts of the inner workings of emotional alomancy, so I find it likely that you dear reader are already intimately familiar with these arts as a concept. The Allomancer burns their metal and creates a field of influence that can be easily directed at a single person or in a general area. If the Allomancer burns Brass they sooth and smother the emotions they desire. This acts like a suppressive blanket, dousing a runaway fire and bringing the atmosphere into a controlled and contained state. Soothers can act as a means of mob control, but one who is skilled at the art learns to sooth the wild emotions so that more desirable emotions can grow and thus the soother sets the stage for his needs. If Brass is a blanket that controls the spread of wild emotions, then Zinc is the bellows that turns the fire of emotion into a forge. By inflaming the desired emotions, the Rioter takes the raw iron of his will and lets the emotional forge shape his blade. By stoking the hearts of men, they can be uplifted, giving them strength in times of desperation or courage against overwhelming odds. Men become agitated, desiring to move and to act as their passions are fueled into a frenzy. Any Rioter can start a commotion, but a gifted allomancer can shape men into weapons of the finest quality. These arts are subtle and beautiful. They craft an environment in which the desired emotions are carefully cultivated and harvested. But this is just the beginning. I believe that the emotional arts are some of the most powerful investitures in the greater Cosmere. The first and most important lesson you must learn about allomantic emotional manipulations is that it is not mind control. I assume that you already know this, but it needed to be said. Yet after all these years of mastering the emotional manipulations powers of Zinc and Brass, I find the concept of mind control is far inferior to what we can do. We don’t shape thoughts, we condition thoughts. To the common man, these might seem nearly interchangeable. Imagine you are asked to perform a surgery on a wounded soldier. If Emotional manipulation can be likened to a surgeon’s scalpel, then mind control would equate to attempting to perform the same surgery with a longsword. A surgeon only cuts where necessary and he sees his patient as a person who needs a little realigning for them to return to the path they must walk. Those who experience my alomancy retain their free will. Obviously, I could not persuade a man to murder another or harm themselves. Besides the fact that such commands would be so obviously unnatural, people don’t think with emotions. Emotions provide the framework that can facilitate actions but the thoughts must originate in the mind of the person being soothed or rioted. A common example in my experience is when I meet with a fellow merchant for a business negotiation. Such meetings are stymie by mistrust and fear of being taken advantage of. By soothing their fear and rioting their excitement I simultaneously brush aside the validity of paranoid thoughts and encourage the desire to make a profitable deal. These thoughts didn’t come from me they were already in their minds. I assessed the situation and manipulated the emotions that were tied to the thoughts I needed to affect. It’s all about predicting the thoughts and emotions of others. Mind control would be making use of men as if they were tools. This point is moot for nearly all people are free in thought and could never be persuaded to go against their inner nature no matter how skilled the rioter or soother. But there is one exception in which men and beasts may be controlled by emotional alomancy. If there is a form of Mind control it would be achieved through Hemalergic Intrusion. Those who are pierced by more than three hemalergic spikes are subject to the manipulations and control of Harmony. This intrusion ability is an inheritance from the shard of Ruin. The more spikes that puncture the spirit web, the easier it is to override an individual’s free will. In fact, it is possible that allomancers who can push hard enough could control such people. In a way, soothers and rioters can control minds, but only the minds of the damaged and spiked. Yet this might only be the start. Hemalergic Spikes are not the only way to damage and alter an individual’s spirit web, they are just the most direct method that I know of. It has been documented that the mentally unstable are also susceptible to exterior manipulation. Perhaps an allomancer that could burn brass hot enough could assume control of those with weakened spirit webs. Once again this is a branch of study that has limited application and troubling implications. Most forms of investiture are only realized in individuals who develop damaged spirit webs such as the broken natures of the Knights Radiant, and the snapping of ancient scadrians. The abilities of Rioters and Soothers have been well documented and accounted for, but I wish to speak of the heightened potential of the Mistborn. In the world of ash, Mistborn were called upon to act as assassin and spies. They mobility and many layer power sets make them perfect instruments of death, especially when they possessed Atium. The flaw of this system was how overlooked the emotional metals became in the training of Mistborn. Why both to manipulate the emotions of men you were going to assassinate? I can see the reasoning but I also know through experience that Mistborn were often short-changed by this specialized training. The power to sooth unwanted emotions and riot others at the same time can turn the hearts of men into putty to shaped. Often this is achieved by teams of Soothers and Rioters working in tandem. But such teams are hard to coordinate and are sluggish to adapt to change. But one individual, one Mistborn can simply enter a room and sway an audience. It is almost enchanting, watching the eyes of others flit to you in awe. To watch hostel men, slip softly into a jovial conversation. To watch as every whim and will work toward my desires and to temper anger before it can set in the mind. I am a gardener, trimming weeds in the garden of the Cosmere. I will not lie, I really am cheating at this. The 17th Shard constantly reminds me of how much I am meddling with people just by walking by them. I reach out to their minds instinctually, without thought. Yet I cannot feel guilty when I know that even in passing I bring something special into their lives. It is easy to be captivated by the flashy abilities of Coin Shots and Learchers, or the practical abilities of Pewter and Tin. But my heart and my talent will always be held by Zinc and Brass. They have kept me alive and provided for all my needed comforts. Even if I find individuals who protect their emotions with Aluminum lined hats, the instinct to understand the emotions and pressure points of those whom I meet continues to light the path before my feet. So, chastise me as you will, call my success a hoax and rebuke me if you so desire. If we ever meet I am sure you will come around to my way of thinking. In fact, I daresay I can guarantee it.
  3. Hello everyone! It has been far too long. Having just moved across several states, this has been the first Letter that I have been able to make since we settled back into our house. But now we should be back into the swing of things. Keep an eye out because I also have some new ideas for Brandon Sanderson content to come! I'm not going to say that there are any particular reasons why the topic of Heightenings might be good to review, but I feel it is good to take a moment and review this aspect of BioChromatic Breath. This is my first look at the Investiture of Nalthis, yet the impact that Breath has on the general Cosmere. Now, this is an introduction to the Heightenings, and won't dive into much theory. I do plan to follow up with a letter about Awakening which will have more conceptual notes. Once again, I hope to remind you all that this series is meant to be targeted for new readers wanting to learn more about the Cosmere rather than deep theories. There are other ways that I plan to share my thoughts and theories. But anyway, I hope you enjoy this latest episode and the beautiful art that others have shared with us: Here is the transcript if you want to see the written form: It is odd to walk through a home that is no longer yours. I have lost several homes up till now. Some were taken from me by ill luck, some by force, and some I fled from in terror. Thankfully today I am walking through the home I have sold off, along with all my holdings and trade ships. It still amazes me how much wealth one can build when he is for all intents and purposes, immortal. Nalthis is the home I never deserved. I washed up upon these shores as a vagabond, cast out from my ruination. I was lower than the beggars, and I knew it. But it was my nature to reach for stability and progress. I worked hard and employed all my varied skills to gain the upper hand on my fellows. It wasn’t long until I had become a supervisor for a small dye mill. It was there that I first tasted of Living Breath. On Nalthis, the stewardship of Endowment, the manifest investiture is known as Biochromatic Breath. When I first was brought to your employ, I was so caught up in the whirlwinds surrounding Roshar that I failed to dictate to you this most important of investment and Shardic intent. I do so know, knowing that my current existence would not have been possible without Breath. All people born on Nalthis is given a single Biochromatic Breath upon their birth. All living things in the Cosmere hold a small amount of investiture inside them, their life force or essence. On Nailthis they are gifted with something more. Alone this Breath is almost unnoticeable. If you were from another world and you walked the streets of T'Telir, the people would not appear to be different. But Breath is like people, one alone can only do so much, but with many together some amazing things can happen. By speaking the right words with the proper intent, the Breath can be endowed unto another. Although the value of a single Breath changes slightly over time, the rule of thumb is that the sale of a single Breath usually equates the value of a year’s salary for a lowly worker. This provides a free infusion of wealth that the poor can rely on during troubled times. The rich and mighty will often spend great fortunes to collect this Breath because of the metaphysical benefits that come along with A collection of Breath. These abilities are described in tiers of power called Heightenings. If one attains about Fifty Breaths you will enter the First Heightening. Besides extending your life about ten years, this gives the user the ability Aura Recognition. In other words, Firsts can discern the general amounts of Breath others carry and some insight into the health of that Breath. Most residents on Nalthis who desire Breath stop at the First Heightening. At around 200 breaths, Breath holders gain the ability to manifest Perfect Pitch spontaneously. This is the Second Heightening. The Third Heightening grants Perfect Color Recognition manifests with about 600 Breaths. This is a curious sensation that feels almost like perfect pitch for your eyes. Some may feel that this ability grants the Breath Holder the ability to see more colors than others, but this is not true. Instead, this allows for the stark distinction of color to be observed. I must admit, Color recognition and the understanding of hue and texture is intoxicating. At an approximate requirement of 1,000 Breaths, the Fourth Heightening is the beginning of the rare Heightenings achieved by everyday people. When one attains the Fourth Heightening, the wielder gains Perfect Life Sense. As one acquires more Breath they instinctually become more aware of the investiture held by the people. This life sense not only lets you feel the people around you but heightens your awareness of others who are observing you even if they are hidden or mixed in with the crowd. This has proved invaluable. With this ability, I find myself in control of most situations before they begin. The exception to this ability comes from Drabs. A Drab is someone who has given up all their Breath, and they are functionally undetectable via Life Sense. As I’ve grown more accustomed to this power, I find the undetectable nature of Drab to be disconcerting. It is here, at the Fith Heightening that one such as I have found the Cosmere shaking ability of Longevity. When you hold about 2,000 Breaths the body becomes functionally perfect. The body becomes immune to most toxins, (including alcohol) most physical ailments (such as disease, headaches, and organ failure) In fact after I attained the Fith Heightening, I no longer age and have become functionally immortal. Now, this is incredible, but by no means does this mean I’m free of danger. While natural causes of death are now eluded I can still fall to the sword like any other man or woman. With this lifestyle comes risks and I must be on my guard considering how often my information brokering I participate in. Thankfully I have been blessed with other talents that grant me far more advantages than mothers of the Fifth Heightening. I find I must pause here and relate to you briefly what inspired me to attain such lofty heights of Breath. I am ashamed to say that my hoarding of BioChromatic Breath was not fueled by a desire to live and experience the Breath and Depth of the Cosmere. I feel so now, but when I began my business on Nalthis it was out of a sense of desperation and addiction. My world had been shattered and it had left me adrift and broken. When I discovered this place I feverishly worked, attempting to drown my past in the frantic world of business and politics. Many government officials are expected to reach the First Heightening in order to access the nation’s civil functions regularly. I remember taking on those first Breaths, and the euphoria that came with it. Each Breath filled me up, making me feel alive in ways I had never felt before. I found myself driven to capture more Breath. Feverously I would claim more and more wealth, using my powers to gain information I should never have know and to take things I had no right to claim. I was worse than a back ally thief but performed my heists on the grand scale. And every bit of profit I made I poured feverously into getting more Breaths. For almost twenty years I gathered my riches in invested souls while building a fanatical empire. And before I knew, I was turning 40 and didn’t look a day over 25. Slowly my work had filled the gaps in my life and given me purpose. I settled down and began to focus on the dye mills and weapons forges that had built my fortune. And there I remained until your messenger arrived, and pulled me from my holdings. But I digress, just because this is where I stopped collecting Breath doesn’t mean There are not more Heightenings to learn about. At the amassed Fortune of 3,500 Breaths, the wielder gains Instinctive Awakening. Breath is not just about hoarding and collecting personal enhancements, but about giving a form of life to normally inanimate objects. By infusing Breath into something, usually something that had once been alive like cloth or corpses, you can give them a measure of automation. This Infusion of Investiture along with a clear command phrase spoken in your native language the object can be given temporary life shaped by the desires of the holder. This investing art is called Awakening, and it is a complex and virtually boundless. The difficulty faced by a wielder of Breath boils down to two things, amount of Breath available and the Commands that you know. The more complex the order of the larger the object in question, the more Breath it will take to animate the material. When an Awakener achieves the Sixth Heightening, they begin to have a natural mastery of Awakening, allowing them to instinctively understand and wield basic Awakening commands without training or practice. This also opens up the pathway for greater command research as this instinct provides a light along the path of discovery. As I write to you today, I find myself temporarily experiencing the Seventh Heightening. Although this is very temporary, I have allowed myself this temporary treat of seeing just how much color there is to observe at this level. I can confirm that the strange ability granted from holding over 5000 Breaths is Awakening Sense. At this level, the nature of Endowment’s Investiture becomes incredibly fine-tuned. Not only am I aware of the people around me, But I can feel the life of the objects that have been awakened. At this level, it is like seeing a ripple of heat encasing all things that hold Breath. Very few have ever held this level of power, and so even with the wealth, I have gathered over hundreds of years, the secrets of the last three known heightenings are based on historical accounts and basic realmic theory. At the Eight Heightening, which reportedly requires at least 10,000 Breaths, comes the ability to Break Commands. While I do not think it is possible to steal Breath from other Awakeners or the objects they infuse, It is possible to tear down their intent and potentially change the commands they are given. While this is possible without the eight heightening, it is so difficult it is rarely attempted. But at the 8th Heightening Awakeners can achieve this by instinct, although I hear it is still an exhausting process. Once we step beyond the Sixth Heightening we are stepping into a level of Awakening and Biochromatic Breath that is hardly observed. The few in history to have attained such levels rarely showed others what they could do, so some of this is guesswork. For instance, at the Ninth Heightening which is achievable at a staggering 20,000 breaths, comes the ability to perform Greater Awakening. Tales of this type of awakening mostly come from the myths and legends of the past. Tales of Stone warriors destroying armies, and of living metal that cuts through armor as if it didn’t exist. Regardless, the awakening of matter that never was alive takes an incredible amount of Breath to Awaken and is impossible to attempt until the Awakener archives this 9th Heightening. The Tenth Heightening is the Highest ranking of Biochromatic Breath that we have. There may be other heightening levels beyond, but if that is the case no one has ever discovered it. Once the threshold of 50,000 Breaths has been attained, all scientific and historical information becomes as useless as blind guesswork. At this point the color surrounding the Awakener cannot be contained and begins to bend the light via Light Distortion. Colors seem to bend inward, almost glowing of their own accord. And anything that appears white will give off a fractured rainbow of light similar to the effects of a prism. When someone uses Breath to Awaken, color is drained from nearby objects, acting as fuel to the investment. At the Tenth Heightening, this draining ability is enhanced to a Perfect Invocation which draws all the color out of an object, turning it white instead of the usual grey. Most impressively this Heightening comes with the ability to Awaken without having to give a verbal command. This Mental Command almost defies the rules of Awakening although it is apparently difficult to learn and master. There could be even more powers and instinctual abilities that come with the Tenth Heightening, but I am not aware of them. While this is a decent summary of the Heightenings, bear in mind, that the art of Awakening is difficult to define. For instance, it is entirely possible to reach a heightening at more or less than the listed amount. The strength of each breath is different from person to person and the small differences of each breath can influence exactly how much is needed to attain a different heightening. I feel there is still much-untapped potential to be discovered in this art. For now, I am content to hold the Seventh Heightening for a few more hours. This additional Breath has cost me everything I own. I will no longer hold a position here on Nalthis, although that may change in the future. It was obvious to me that once we made our way back here, that there was something far more precious to me than my holdings. I can’t wait to finally explain all of this to Kassar. After all, I did this for her sake. After she has been trained in the arts of Awakening, we will be moving forward. I wish this was only a mission of scholarship. Yet the actions of Odium have sealed fear into my very being. I cannot be content unless I can see what is going on. Until the next Letter Elsric
  4. Welcome to the second Episode of "Letters from the Cosmere!" Today we talk about the origins of the current Cosmere system and the implications of the Shattering of Adonalsium. You may notice a few changes to the series, most noticeably the name change. Yes, I have read White Sand (now) and yes the name correlation was literally happenstance. However, despite this I do not want to cause confusion about who is who in the Cosmere so I made the change to my character. It is slight, but it made the most sense. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this episode. Hope you enjoy! I will put the transcript in text below: Adonalsium. Such a strange word. I remember when I first found it as I studied the Words of Founding. In that moment, I thought little of it. Of all the incredible revelations that came in the wake of the Destruction of “The World of Ash” I was distracted. Now all these years later, I discovered that it was all connected. If you, dear reader, think for a second that I have been fooled into quiet worship and submission you are woefully mistaken. If there ever was a God, he is long since dead. There are merely scraps to pull this knowledge from. Yet just as scraps of a tapestry can yield a pattern, the grand machine that is the Cosmere is starting to become apparent. No one seems to know what Adonalsium was, except that it was incredibly powerful. It stood above all, and held the creative and destructive powers of the Universe. I say it because there is no indication if this entity had an intelligence like a sentient man. The Scholar seems to think so, but she thinks a great many things that seem to convoluted, and they cannot all be true. She seems content to sit back and learn, content to watch worlds crumble and die rather than using the knowledge she has. However, I am indebted to her, for each of the two times I have crossed paths with her she seemed pleased to answer my questions. Unlike you. However, The Scholar was not who first told me of the Shattering, but The Wanderer. I met him just before I was called back to start these letters. I never learned his name but like me, he seemed to Wander from place to place. Something about him was off, and he seemed so focused on striding deeper into Roshar I almost escaped his notice. Yet when he did notice me he seemed adamant that I listen to his story. I mostly had no idea what he was talking about until he brought up the death of Scadrial. He spoke of the powers Preservation and Ruin, and called them by names I had never heard. Then he told me quite frankly about how these powers, these so-called Gods, were once men. Men who had risen up against Adonalsium. They rebelled against It, and shattered it into 16 primal powers. Wanderer didn’t say much more than this, except to tell me that these people slowly were changed by this power. He spoke of Ati, who had once been a good man, who later manifested as Ruin and sought to destroy all life in the Universe by braking it. His parting words were the only words he seemed to take seriously. He told me that history would be repeating itself before long, and that I would have to make a choice. Almost as if his words heralded some great tragedy, I could feel something change. Odium had come. At the time I didn’t know Odium or what he brought with his influence. But for the first time I wondered if watching would be enough. It wasn’t. As you know, I would eventually dedicate my very existence to fighting for the lives left behind on Roshar. The Desolation that Odium began and the destruction caused by his Everstorm left hundreds of thousands cowering in the dark. I left my life of grieving solitude, and took upon myself a mantle of leadership. Wanderer was also there; I assume fighting in his own way. And all this time, I was thinking about the 16 who took upon themselves such great power. Apparently they dispersed, moving through the cosmere and building up peoples and cultures across the stars. The worlds I have touched have been both crafted and scared by their fumbling hands, hands of men ascended. They created many great and incredible peoples, and gifted unto them the investitures that allow men to touch the divine. But at what cost? For it seems they see fit to destroy what they create. That their Shards have twisted them into intelligent agents of the Shard’s will and Purpose. I do not understand it, but the nature of each Shard eventually bleeds through these ascended men and overcomes their personalities, twisting them into dangerous servants bound by their instincts. And now we suffer the consequences of their lack of restraint. Who were these people? What right did they have to become Gods in the place of the Thing they had killed? Apparently this Odium has murdered several of his fellow Shards, dispersing their power so as to continue his rise to domination. All along this path of Power and Control, Millions have died. To these ascended beings, our lives must seem as the ants of the dirt. When I see the destruction that Ruin and Odium have been allowed to cause, I am resolved by one simple truth. These flawed Gods should never have been. Tell our Friend that I intend to fight until the lives of men can continue under their own wills. Tell Him that this war is far from over, and that I will struggle against Odium and all other Shards who fall. I do not feel that I can do much else than be a knife in the dark. I will gather the precious few I can save and set them up as a banner, to fight back however we can. I am unsure how to fight a God, but that won’t stop me from trying. Be wary of this Wanderer, a man who is far more removed from time than I am. He moves with a purpose that I cannot comprehend. I am grateful to him and see him as a mentor of sorts. Yet I cannot help but be cautious of his intent. Even now I wonder if he hinted to me of The Shattering simply to recruit me for his side. Because of my choice I am actively being pursued by the members of the 17th Shard. I do not know what will happen if they catch me, but as of yet I have not let them get too close. However, as I cast my thoughts back to the Shattering, back where this all began, there is one thought that chills me to my very core. These 16 usurpers struck down a God. Something with, for all intents and purposes, unlimited power. Yet these men shattered Adonalsium. What could mere men wield that could kill a God? And worse, where is this weapon that can lay waste to the powers of Creation? This weapon could be more threatening than even Odium, for he is only a part of what the Weapon destroyed. Odium is the most prevalent of threats, but I fear more for the resurgence of this fiendish secret. For if the Weapon can destroy a God, what unspeakable things could it do to the peoples of the Cosmere? {Sigh] This fight, what it represents… it has taken a toll on me. Perhaps I can learn to trust, to believe that such power can be wielded for the good. Preservation did try to lock away Ruin, and even restored hope to a failing Emperor. And Honor left some of his will behind, granting visions and Nahel bonds to his people. I am uncertain if what they offered us will be enough to stop the destructive Shards, but perhaps what they did will give us a chance. Regardless I have a work to do, for I am determined to keep my people alive if at all possible. Until the next time, Elsric
  5. Hello, fellow Cosmernaught! So this is the latest part in the "Letters from the Cosmere" where Elsric talks about the critical role Intent has in the realms of the Cosmere. I also take a moment to share some details about the upcoming Cosmere Charity Drive for Open Books, including some of the fantastic giveaways and activities that will be going on. I hope you take a moment to check out the second half of the video so you can find out all the amazing stuff that's happening! Seriously, guys, we have some Incredible things planned for this! I hope you enjoy the episode, and let me know if you have any questions. Intent is the driving force of Investiture. The Cosmere follows natural laws, and as we understand these laws we can better see the universal consistencies in the system. Intent is twofold. The intent of the wielder both shapes and limits the powers of Investiture. In Magic systems like Awakening or Aon Dor, the understanding of the practitioner often is the greatest limiting factor in the shaping of investiture. And then there is the macro Intent that shapes a Shard's Investiture. Each shard has a characteristic drive that shapes the Intent of the investiture itself. This intent eventually suppresses the Intent of the Shard holder. With this understanding, we can better understand the Cosmere and can begin to see where these events will eventually lead. Transcript: My first step into the Cognitive Realm changed everything. The domain of thought is strange and dangerous for the physical body to traverse. I imagine that there are many who inadvertently found themselves stumbling into the living shadows of Shadesmar, without any idea what they had done or how to survive in such a place. Sometimes the Cosmere seems full of worldhoppers like us, but we really are an elite few who have braved these paths and lived to talk about it. My father had taught me from a young age that the world was never as mysterious as many made it out to be. There were universal laws of nature that could be studied and understood. Once understood they could be predicted. This was the foundation of physical science, and was a passion of my fathers. He taught his children to look for the underlying truths that governed all things. And he was right, despite all that there is out in the Cosmere, so much more than my father ever could have imagined, his lessons have been proven time and time again. I am disappointed when I hear the various members of the Shard worlds refer to their Investitures as Magic. It is an understandable misconjecture. The abilities of those whom are blessed or talented enough to hold and wield investiture can do some great and terrible things. To the lay man, these might seem mystical. But just like the forces of gravitation or momentum, there are predictable rules and laws that govern these forces. Investiture is one of the four Universal Forces, the others being Particle forces, Electromagnetic Forces, and Gravitational forces. These forces all operate in the physical realm. Investiture is unique, for it is not restricted primarily to the Physical realm, but also phases into and interacts with the Cognitive and Spiritual reams. These other Elemental forces may operate to a dree in the other realms, but Investiture seems to interact unilaterally in all three realms. In fact, many realmic theorists like myself agree that Investiture is Primal Spiritual Energy. It manifests in all three realms, but it does not vanish as it is exercised, but rather it cycles back to the spiritual realm until it is recycled back into the other realms. When someone performs apparently mystical abilities like surgbindings, alomancy, awakening, Aon Dor, or any of the unique abilities seen on Shard worlds, you are seeing someone channeling Investiture into the physical realm. This produces metaphysical abilities. While flashy, these abilities are simply an effect following a cause, much like how a horse moves a cart by pulling on it. The powers vary from world to world and person to person, but the source of that power is the same. When someone holds, or is channeling this power, they are considered invested beings. (As a side note, investiture use is not limited to sentient beings. Some animals and cognitive entities can manipulate investiture as well.) But what is it about Investiture that even allows us to take hold, this fundamental force of nature and use it. How do all these metaphysical abilities manifest, and why do living beings seem to be the harbingers of this energy. Well I believe I have uncovered the core nature of Investiture, although Khriss would undoubtedly say I am oversimplifying this topic. The key to understanding the nature of Investiture is understanding Intent. Intent is the sentient will behind Investiture. It is the driving force, the rudder the steers the preverbal ship. We have many examples of the need for an intelligence to guide and channel this power. In fact, the old stories about the Elantrians tell that the power of the Dor was choked, almost eager to find release. This attitude is also apparent in the Rosharian Stormlight, Investiture that burst forth filling those who wield it with a need to act, to use the power, to let it be free. Investiture echoes intelligence and life, clinging to it like dew collecting on grass in the dawn. Each system of investiture manifests differently from world to world. This is an echo of the Shard of which they are attuned. The Investiture then can be drawn out within the restrictions of the system in which it has been imbued to. These systems have their own logic and governing laws that make them appear so alien to one another. Yet the raw power is ultimately the same, and manifests in similar ways as either a metallic solid, liquid, or gas. Usually the system dictates the amount of power that can be drawn, and the limits that power will have. For example, restrictive systems like Allomancy or Surgbinding can manifest in specific and definable amounts. These restrictions often make the abilities more accessible but at the cost of diversity. A Steel push is limited to pushing and only to a measurable limit. Rosharan Surgbinders have access to two of the ten surges, and these surges each have their own limits and applications. Other Investiture systems are more open ended, but are ambiguous in their nature. Using Soul Stamps or Awakening is likely never to be truly understood, for their potential abilities and effects may be to vast to comprehend. This means that practitioners can adapt their methods to match their needs as long as they have the time and training to produce the desired result. The constant I wish to point out here is the need for interpretation and action on the part of the practitioner. No investiture could work without a willful action or thought from the person holding the power, even if that direction is subconscious. This patter holds true even at the levels of Shards, although the power of Intent manifests in much more dramatic ways at the macro level. At times, individuals have encountered and taken in large amounts of pure investiture. This power coalesces inside the being of an individual and seeks to be channeled. If enough raw power is there, the mortal body is not a good enough vessel to maintain that power. The words of Founding speak of this when Vin entered the Well of Ascension. Her mind and body were expanded, her cognitive and spiritual selves growing in order for her being to channel the massive amount of power that sought Intent and intelligent guidance. At this level the power manifests a primal will of its own. This power can still we wielded freely, but it cannot deny its overall nature. These limits may seem minor but it is fascinating to note. For instance, an allomancer wields the power of preservation, but that mistborn can use that power to destroy. This is inconsistent with the source of the power, but in small amounts, Investiture’s desire to be shaped by Intent is greater than the pull of its Shard. As the amount of Investiture grows, the natural intent of the power begins to assert itself, making it harder for the wielder to twist the power away from its original purpose. As for the Shards themselves… this power starts to literally take on a mind of its own. In fact, we have observed that Shards that are splintered or abandoned will eventually develop a rudimentary intelligence of its own. This drive for purpose and direction is as much a part of this power as is its energy. When the 16 first took up the powers of Adonalsium, they commanded the power as they saw fit. However, over the ages, the Intent inherent to each shard began to smother the holders of the power. In the end these beings almost stopped being individuals. They became puppets to the nature of their Shards, still intelligent and with an identity, but their personal Intent was twisted until it perfectly mimicked the Intent that the investiture had been attuned to from the beginning. While investiture seeks to be shaped by intelligence and intent, it has by nature an intent of its own. I believe these drives are echoes of the entity from which they were ripped. It’s very nature upon reflection seems to prove that this power came from a vast intelligence, and because of that it seeks by its own nature to be shaped once again. If we ever truly wish to unravel the greater mysteries of the Cosmere, we much remember the constant that is Intent. No matter how big or heavy an object is, it will fall just as fast as any other object. Likewise, no matter how Investiture is obtained, it will seek to be shaped by a mind. These things are consistent and can be used as a foundation to greater understanding. We have been spending a lot of time at the great crossroads in the Cognitive realm. This city is strange, but I cannot deny that the unique opportunities here are quite alluring. The records and tales gathered here rival that of any library in all the Cosmere. We find ourselves here more and more as we dive deeper into the mysteries. The Shards have been at work in the Cosmere for a long time, and the more I see, the more I am convinced that things will not remain as they are. Perhaps there will be some great war, or the need for Intent will eventually unite the remaining Shards. The way ahead is murky, but we will do our best to help you see things a little more clearly. Until the next time, Elsric Post Script. Kassar would like to ask that the next messenger we see bring her the latest in your local fashion. I promised to take her dancing and she wants to see what modern Scadrians are wearing.
  6. It has become clear that Harmony will become a large player in the Cosmere, and could actually be tied to the eventual fate of the 16 Shards, or what is left of them. It's good to reflect on just what Harmony is and how little we actually know about his motivations, capabilities, or the eventual role that he will play. He is already under attack, and this could only be the beginning. Here is the most recent "Letters from the Cosmere" where Elsric defines what Harmony is and explains his connection to the Shard: Transcript: My Dearest Kassar, By the time you get this, I will be gone. Before we set out for Scadrial I wish to establish two new mine sites. In order to maintain our estate while we are away I plan to reveal the other locations so that the company can continue to grow. I plan to be back within the month when we will depart. Our last conversation has been on my mind as of late. I feel that my inability to speak earlier was a disservice. I am not sure I can share all that I need to tell you. Perhaps after you have read these words I will have mustered the courage necessary to share my inner most turmoil’s. A lot happened to me on Scadrial, and I must admit I at nervous at the realization that we will soon be returning to that place. I fear you will feel lesser of me. I do not want to cast a shadow over us during this trip, but it is time I told you the truth. For years now I have been in the service of a being known as Harmony, a man who took up the power of a God and saved my life. Harmony is a kind of god, much like the beings of Cultivation and Odium. In fact, these three all are fragments of a far older power the came before them. While each piece behaves differently and independently, their power all came from Adonalsium. Harmony is unique, as far as I know, because he is a more recent wielder of Shardic power. More interestingly he is the combination of two formally separated and opposing powers. Ruin and Preservation were a shard pair that founded Scadrial. They worked together to create the life and humanity that lived on the planet. In the end however they were opposed to each other’s Intent which inevitable led to a preverbal deadlock conflict. The planet and the people who lived there were nearly the casualties of this conflict which was only resolved when the Shard bearer of Preservation purposefully ignored her intent and destroyed the mind of Ruin while destroying her own mind. The Hero of Ages, Preservations great gamble, then reached out and took hold of both Ruin and Preservation. I was there that day, watching as the world burned and thousands died. Scadrial was already a brutal and desolate place, and during those final years it was little more than a husk too hostel to live on. Ash choked the ground and the sun baked the planet from above. It was a kind of Desolation, orchestrated by Ruin as he sought to fulfill his driving purpose to break down the Cosmere piece by piece. Even from the Cognitive Realm, the destruction was very real. I had resigned myself to my fate. And then there he was, like a pillar of light that enveloped the planet in an embrace. Harmony shaped the world, returning it to what it had once been. The land was molded and shaped like clay. The three realms seemed to melt together, and suddenly I was standing on a land unrecognizable. He was there with me through it all. Somehow he knew who I was and why I was there. Even though he was creating a new world, he had the time for me. Well, I imagine his existence was not bound by physical location, at least not as we understand it. When I left that world, I assumed that would be the end. Apparently, Harmony kept an eye on me because when he wanted more information, they quickly sought me out. Harmony has servants who he uses to keep tabs on his world and to reach out to others. These are the Kandra, shapeshifters who take the forms of men by using their bones. They are immortal, as far as I know, and can receive direct instruction from Harmony. In fact, the man who stopped by the mansion last year was one such being. That was when I received the call to return to Scadrial. I am not sure why Harmony contacted me to begin with, when he has servants who can spy on the rest of the Cosmere for him, but perhaps it has something to do with the nature of Harmony. It is easy to think that Harmony is simply both Preservation and Ruin, much like how I have a right arm and a left arm that are similar, yet opposites working together. But if my studies into the nature of Shards is correct, then Harmony is actually something else. The Shards are no longer separate powers, but one. They have blended into a new alloy to create something new. This means that Harmony has the abilities and understandings of both Ruin and Preservation, and yet he has his own powers and influences that are independent of the powers from which he is derived. He also is somewhat of a powerhouse, wielding twice as much raw power and energy as the other shards that have been documented. From here we can see the potential orgin of the current conflict. Odium proved to be a vicious and heartless Shard. Granted the mind of the being who took up the shard must be practically obliterated by the Intent of Hatred. If you trace the macro events in the Cosmere, it becomes clear that Odium set his sights on dominating the Cosmere by eliminating those with the power to challenge him. I would be surprised if Harmony is not the manifestation of everything Odium fears. Harmony is most likely the most powerful being in the Cosmere. It is not surprising to hear that things are not all well back on Scadrial. Before the Kandra found us here on Nalthis, I hadn’t heard from them for years already. Considering how often they had been checking in up till that point, I had started wondering if something had happened. Before we were contacted, I had already resigned myself to return to Scadrial. It seems that something has changed and Harmony is under threat by some unknown power. Naturally, the Kandra are worried, and it turns out that I have had the most experience out in the Cosmere with other Shards. They have requested that I make my report and attempt to aid in their investigation. Considering what we have just survived, I feel that we cannot ignore this plea. It is clear to me that the mishandled wielding of godly power can cause untold levels of death an destruction. It is infuriating to see that intelligent beings took up such power for themselves and then turn it against each other and the people of these worlds. Harmony is perhaps the best there is of the Shard holders. His very nature is restraint and balance, and is the only power in the Cosmere I feel I can truly rely upon. Despite my growing mistrust of these Shards, I will not abandon Scadrial to be destroyed yet again. The things I saw over those last years of the old Scadrial… left me scared and broken. If my knowledge can help prevent that from happening again… well… it’s worth the effort. If there is to be a grand future to the Cosmere, Harmony is sure to be a focal point of what will come. Given our potential limitless lifespans, I wonder if we will see the end of the Shard holders. I am not sure what would be best for the Cosmere as a whole, but I am content to work with the servants of the one Shard I feel we can trust. I will do my best to prepare you for our integration with the Skadrian people. Hopefully, we can blend in a little better than I did on Roshar. Until we speak again, Elsric
  7. The Cognitive Realm is one of the best-kept secrets of the Cosmere. Sometimes it almost feels crowded considering how little people know about it. Between the Physical and Spiritual Realms, the thoughts and ideas of intelligent beings take shape in this dimension. Worldhoppers use Perpindicularities to enter this realm physically and take shortcuts to other worlds. It is also the home of the spren of Roshar. In this Letters from the Cosmere Elsric takes a solid look at the Realmatic Theory about the Cognitive Realm and how its rules work for a Worldhopper. Here is this episode's transcript: I wonder if writing two letters back to back for the same person makes me conceded, or desperate. It seems haughty that I would already have something apparently so important to inform you about. Yet I waste your time with frivolous sentences about what I happen to be thinking at any given moment. The fact that I am enjoying the thought of you forcing yourself to read this right now seems to establish the point quite nicely. Well now that we have that out of the way, you must understand that the scholar in me cannot simply let my first letter be whisked away with only a generalized version of “The Cosmere.” I mean the fact that you found me in my little Manor on Nalthis proves that you understand that much about the Cosmere already. But I needed to start somewhere and I cannot help but think that someday someone will be reading these words who has never learned Realmatic Theory before. So, to you my future reader, turn back now before the insatiable curiosity grabs you by the throat and drags you away screaming. It will be easier for you to just move on, living your life. Now that I have your attention, dear reader, and your annoyance dear recipient, I wish to better define the Cognitive Realm and its import on my life. I first discovered a perpendicularity by accident. I had been delving into the secrets my rivals were trying very hard to keep. Let me remind you that a perpendicularity is a location or event where concentrated investiture creates a hole between dimentions. I like to think of them as Shard Pools. Call me simple minded, but they are places where investiture pools together all at once. I have thought long and hard about this. We exist in three (known) levels of existance simultaneously. We are very familure with the physical nature of our existance for it is the one we we are born interacting with directly. We are also existant in the spiritual realm where our essence is at it’s most pure. Somewhere between these two realms exists the Cognitive realm. This realm exists as a smoky mirror of it’s more substantial counterparts. The Cognitive realm reflects the physical realm in general shape, but is maluble and easily changed with investiture, which essentially is energy from the Spiritual Realm. The three realms exist in states that are fundamentally different from each other, despit the fact that they are intertwined. The physical worlds upon which we live are large planets suspended in around suns. We live on globes where if we travel in a strait line for long enough, we will end up right where we started. These spheres are the separated from others like them by vast distances in space. The Cognitive realm follows a different set of ruls. Everything there essentially exists on a 2 dimentional plane. Now it’s not literally two dimentional, for when you visit it will feel similar to the surface of your homeland. If you think of a planet as a globe, then the cognitive realm is like a map of the globe. Essentially they are same in shape, but the Cognitive Version of the world has edges that extend into the beyond. When you move off the cognitive world, you step into a dark zone where little to nothing exists. This essentially is leaving the planet. In fact, all cognitive realms are connected to every other world populated with intelligent beings. Because the landscape is created and maintained by intelligent, cognitive thought, it means that the gaps between worlds is relatively small. This two-dimensional existence and connection between the various worlds is what allows worldhoppers like myself to travel across the void and into other nations and cultures. One of the great secrets of the Cosmere is not just the fact that there are other worlds with people on them, but that there are more than can currently be visited. In my travels, I have passed over worlds with populations that are isolated from the rest of the Cosmere. Worlds where there are no natural perpendicularities. Someday I hope to visit these worlds somehow, perhaps discover how humans came to live there without the intervention of a Shard. I’d even assume that they have no access to investiture, but that would be presumptuous of me. I also need to note something that I forgot last time. Each world looks different in the Cognitive Realm. Now there are consistencies, like how bodies of water tend to be represented as stable landmasses in the Cognitive Realm while typical landmasses are large churning oceans of thought that can be quite deadly to a worldhopper who is not careful. However, each world’s cognitive realm has it’s own flavor. For instance, much of Scadrial’s Cognitive Realm is made up of massive seas of mist, whereas on Roshar the ocean seems to be made up of tiny glass beads. Naturally I will be able to tell you more about the Rosharian landscape and Cognitive Realm once I get there. Now you need to remember that these oceans are not a natural phenomenon like a lake or river. These swirling depths are manifestations of the millions of minds that live in the Physical Realm. All things that have a name, a concept, or dream are manifested as tiny intelligences in the Cognitive Realm. The more personification or sentimental value that people give their objects in their world create larger, and more powerful cognitive minds. It is the use of these cognitive minds that, make living in this Realm possible for these cognitions can often be enlisted to help you, especially when you have investiture to offer. Lastly, I wish to comment on the freaky pale sun that hangs ever present over the Cognitive realm. Here there is no night or day, it’s just constantly a dull grey. The ball of light that you can see is the Spiritual realm. Honestly I’m not sure how that works but the other worldhoppers I have run into have mentioned that fact. Somehow that is what connects us all together. It’s strange, and I am sure I will have more to say on that eventually. I know I come off bitter in these letters, but you must understand my reluctance to getting involved. I don’t think I am any better at sharing information that you and your kind must be. Yet, your master’s proposal was intriguing to say the least. Besides, I owe him for saving my life. Don’t get too comfortable back there, you’ve reawakened the scholar in me. Once I get to Roshar I will locate and use a perpendicularity to return to the Physical realm. I hear it is quite a place to visit, although the rumors coming from that direction do not bode well. Until the next letter, Elsric
  8. My friends, it's time for another "Letters from the Cosmere!" Now this one is intended to be a beginners guide to Shardblades and Shardplate. I know I know, nothing super juicy in this one, but this is something you can share with your friend who you are desperately trying to get reading Sanderson for the first time, or for a spouse who is curious about Roshar but you just can't find the words. I hope you like it. Oh, and if you are a fan of Elsric lore, this episode reveals the name of his apprentice on Roshar so keep an ear open for that! Let me know what you thought in the comments and look for a Part 2 of this subject where I will dive into the deep end of the topic! Roshar is one of the most dangerous planets in all the Cosmere. Massive High Storms, Chasemfeinds, and the occasional Desolation make it a pretty inhospitable place to live. The protectors of the world were given great and powerful artifacts in order to provide the needed defense for the people. Shardblades and Shardplate can turn a common man into a juggernaut on the battlefield and a trained soldier into a one-man army. Today Elsric outlines what these mythical artifacts are in their simplest form. Transcript: The Cosmere never ceases to amaze me. I always think that I have seen so many wonders that there couldn’t possibly be something else to see. And yet that ever-distant horizon always yields yet another secret. Although the rolling stone landscapes can appear desolate, the various flora and fauna that have adapted to this environment in fantastic and sometimes bizarre ways. I almost wish I was more interested in botany to truly enjoy this landscape. Yet these wonders seem to pale in comparison to the lives of the people who live on Roshar. I cannot begin to tell you how interesting it is to see an entire culture who’s lives revolve around the massive storms that rage against the land. From architecture to gemstone economics this land is far beyond anything I have seen in my exhaustive journeys. Roshar is home to one of the most terrifying artifacts in the known Cosmere. I wasn’t here long before I started to hear legends of the Shard Blades and Shard Plate of old. These are ancient weapons that were once wielded by the Knights Radiant. Apparently, these Knights were protectors of this world during times of war and invasion. The order of Knights vanished nearly a thousand years ago. In their departure, they left behind these artifacts of incredible power. As of now, I have only seen glimpses of these on passing Lords. Apparently, they are incredibly rare, and the Alethi people with whom I currently reside hold the most of any nation in the world. I will naturally do everything in my power to examine and discern the secrets of these invested objects, but for now I will give you a brief outline. Shard Blades are most curious in their design. The weapons are disproportionally massive, often measuring out at nearly six feet in length. It is said that they are far lighter than any sword should be, especially for their size. This massive reach grants the wielder a distinct advantage in combat especially when the swords other properties are considered. These weapons can cut through all known matter and living flesh. The blades pass straight through rock and stone as if it offered no resistance. I was skeptical of this at first, but I have witnessed this for myself. I watched Lords drop their blades directly into the stone ground, the blade sinking like a hot knife through butter. And yet, these weapons reportedly do far stranger things to the men they strike down. Instead of cutting living flesh, the blade seems to fade into a dense mist, passing directly through the victim. If the blade passes through the spine the victim dies immediately, their eyes smoldering into blackened craters. Of the blade passes through limbs but misses the spine, the afor mentioned limbs are not cut, but instead die, losing all feeling. In this case the victim is crippled. As the blade leaves the body it becomes solid again. Naturally such weapons are incredibly effective on the fields of war, turning a skilled warrior into an army unto themselves. These blades are the most coveted items in Roshar, worth more than most land rights and titles. For the Alethi, wielding one of these blades is essentially a title in and of itself. Apparently any man, even a peasant or dark-eyes as they call them here, can become a Lord by obtaining such a weapon. However, this is nearly impossible to do when the blade must first be taken by force. Fascinatingly the blades have another power that prevents the theft of a shard blade. When one is bonded with a Shard Blade, the weapon can be dismissed out of the physical realm and then called upon by the weapon’s master at will. This means that the blade is always under the control of the wielder. It will even vanish if dropped, most likely a safety to prevent the blade being turned against its master. Clearly these weapons make a trained warrior nearly unstoppable, yet the Shard Plate armor offers protection from these unworldly blades. Shard Plate is miraculous, there is no other word for it. The armor is majestic, perfect in every practical way. The plated armor completely covers the wearer in rigid supernatural metal plates that link together seamlessly. In fact, the only gap in the armor is a small viewing visor in the facemask. The armor is apparently incredibly heavy, but when it is fully charged with Stormlight Investiture the plate seems to support itself. Those who clade the armor are supported and enhanced by the armor which enhances the physical speed and strength of the warrior inside. The armor adapts to its bearer, fitting itself to your physical shape as it is donned. And if that wasn’t enough, the helm apparently is translucent from the inside, allowing the wielder to maintain a blurred version of his peripheral vision. With such perfectly attuned armor it is no wonder that the Shard Plate grants unusual powers to its bearer. These men can leap over chasms, survive large falls, and even deflect a shard blade. Shard Plate provides the ultimate personal defense. However, this armor is not perfect. Shard blade strikes damage the armor greatly, causing it to fracture and eventually shatter. As the armor is weakened it leaks investiture until it runs dry. At that point the armor shuts down and traps the wielder under it’s incredible weight. It is possible for Shard Plate to fall victim to mundane attacks as well. Arrows and typical sword strikes are marginally useless against such a heavy defense. However consistent damage, especially from large hammers and other heavy strikes can lead to plate damage and destruction. However, the level of damage needed to slow down and defeat a Shard Bearer requires the efforts of an army. Even if the shard plate is fractured or even destroyed, the armor is not permanently defeated. The armor apparently can be regrown from a fragment if it is given enough stormlight investiture. Strangely in this regard the Shard Plate seems more alive, behaving more like a plant than metal. I find them incredibly fascination and cannot wait to examine a set for myself. While each type of shard is devastating on its own, together they make a force to be reckoned with. With the enhancements of Shard Plate and the deadly versatility of the Shard Blade, full shard bearers make a mockery of traditional warfare. While they are not immortal, they have little to fear in combat with mundane foes. In fact, most shard bearers only fear the threats of other shard bearers for it is incredibly unlikely that a typical solider would ever pose a serious threat to the wielder. I have made it my mission to get a personal look at one of these shards. I fear it might take me some time to do so since the weapons are so valuable. I am fortunate that I inherited my mother’s grey eyes for in Alethkar, the nobility is set apart by their eye color. It seems strange, but it makes about as much sense as any other social hierarchy. Unfortunately, my apprentice Kassar has already been troubled in her work because of her dark eyes. Perhaps there is some way that I can elevate her or enhance her standing. Her potential far exceeds her social status. For now, we will continue to work for High Prince Dalinar. Give me a month and I shall have the Prince’s confidence. I am leaving on the morrow to begin collecting information for his spy network which I will relay back. It will be nice to put my skills to good use for once. I will write back as soon as I return. Until the next Letter, Elsric
  9. It's been a while but we are finally back on track with "Letters From the Cosmere!" Scadrial is a world with a dark past. Of all the known worlds, the people of this planet have come face to face with their local Shard wielders more than any other. As Ruin and Preservation battled over the fate of the planet, the people suffered until the end came. Now Elsric has published his essays about this world's Investiture and how these powers are connected to the Intents from which they came. Here Elsric describes the secrets of Pewter and Tin, the Internal Physical Metals. Transcript: Essay Number 2 The Secrets and Investitures of Pewter and Tin – The Internal Physical Metals My lifetimes of study and observation have lead me to a fascination about Shards, specifically the Intent of a Shard. This is one of many reasons why Scadrial is a major focus of my studies. It a system whose history and people have seen a great amount of direct interaction between Shard entities and the mortals who live on the planet. The fall of the World of Ash also taught us about the simplistic dynamic of shardic intent, and how the actions of the shard holders are guided along a track until they themselves are less of an individual and more a force of will. They become a hyper intelligent concept. In fact, the bonded spren of Roshar are approximate examples of what I feel a Shard Bearer becomes. It is a blending of the Cognitive and Spiritual essence into something far greater. The Intent of a shard can be extrapolated based on the shape their investitures take. These powers follow laws much like the laws that govern the physical universe. This essay is at the heart of my arguments in this matter. It is imperative that the reader understands that the purpose of these essays is to examine the internal nature of the powers found on Scadrial. Within these pages are my measurements and diagrams, but this is more a dialog intended to uphold my claims that investiture is patterned after intent. This is a fact that is highlighted in all the magic systems of the Cosmere. In this essay I will show how the Allomantic powers of Pewter and Tin are nearly perfect examples of this manifest intent. These powers are the personification of Preservation, which was the Intent that was carried by Leras until the Catasandra. Pewter is the Pushing Internal Physical Metal. It seems an apt description considering Pewter pushes the physical body to its peak and beyond. While burning the metal, the allomancer will experience and enhancement of all physical aspects of their body. The physical strength and speed are increased by magnitudes, although no muscle mass is actually added. The bones also are reinforced, becoming resilient to severe punishment. Once again, this extra strength does not come from an increase in bone mass or density. There is also an increase in the allomancers balance which compensates for the improved physical abilities, often resulting in a lithe almost cat-like grace that comes to a Pewter Arm. This heightened balance and increased speed means that at peak efficiency, a allomancer burning pewter can maintain a sprint at nearly the speed of a galloping horse. This means that a pewter runner can be clocked at over 60 kilometers an hour. Pewter is the fastest burning metal of the original 8 metals. It’s pure allomantic alloy is a casting of ninety-one percent tin and nine percent lead. A Pewuter Savant, or a pewter allomancer who has adapted to burning pewter over long periods of time, is hard to make and even harder to recognize. The benefits of long term Pewter flaring are often dwarfed by the physical dangers that come with doing so. A Pewter savant will consume Pewter more efficiently, and can start healing from wounds at an accelerated rate compared to other Pewter arms. However, this constant flaring drives a need for the metal, and if the allomancer ever runs out of metal to flair, they can die quite suddenly from the shock. This makes study of Pewter Savants difficult for most people are too wary to attempt and it would be unethical to perform tests on the unwilling. Of specific interest to me is the infamous Pewter drag. This is an instance where an allomancer consumes massive amounts of Pewter at a consistently high rate in order to maintain a prolonged and intense burn of the metal. This pushes the boundaries of what we know are the limits of Pewter. Allomancers have been known to run for days on one of these burns, moving at a break neck speed. The longer this allomantic burn goes, the underlying consequences grow steadily more severe. The body seems to understands on a primal level that pewter-dragging is unnatural. Many Mistings report an overwhelming fatigue and mental sluggishness that accompanies a pewter drag. When the drag is finished, the allomancer must continue to burn pewter for the next several hours. If not, the allomancer may slip into a coma which can be lethal. They also must maintain a high water volume and calorie intake so their bodies can continue to function. Pewter dragging is highly dangerous and should be overseen by other experienced allomancers in order to help train the mind for the incredible physical strain. My studies have led me to the conclusion that Pewter is the greatest example of Preservation’s Shardic Intent, and why I felt this should be the foundation for my claims. Experience and observation indicate that the Intents of the Shards direct the application of their endowed Investiture. In fact, I postulate that by studying the manifestations and laws that govern an observed Investiture, that you could determine from observation alone what the Shard’s core intent is. For example, I wish you to reflect upon the fundamentals of Pewter. Pewter brings incredible physical enhancements to the allomancer. This effect has a limit or cap, but these powers come with little to no consequence to the allomancer. Pewter isn’t necessarily making you stronger, but rather that strength is a consequence for what it is doing. I have observed that Pewter instead produces the effect of freezing an allomancer’s state of existence. While burning pewter, the physical body resists changes down to the microscopic level. The bones don’t get larger and tougher, they simple resist change making them harder to break. The body can sprint at speed for long periods of time because Pewter prevents the body from suffering the ill effects of motion and muscle degradation. The pewter is acting as a barrier, preserving the allomancer’s body by expelling the energy that would normally create these physical changes and dissipating it into the spiritual realm. This is speculation on my part, but the differences that we see in the physical Ferrochemical arts displays this discrepancy perfectly. As you will see in my future essays, alomancy uses investiture to effect the world around the alomancer, all the while preserving the allomancer. The other metallic arts require great physical sacrifice in order to obtain their power. Allomancies complete dependence on metals fits the observed intent of Preservation. Despite this drive for Preservation, any interaction with Investiture comes with risks as stated above. Just because a Pewter Allomancer resists changes, doesn’t mean that they are unharmed or changed from this process. In fact, quite the opposite. But it is apparent to me that the intent behind pewter’s power clearly follows the pattern of its shard. This can also be observed in Pewter’s metallic counterpart, Tin. Tin is the Internal Physical Pulling metal. This power creates a heightening in the allomancer’s perceptions of the physical world by pulling on the capabilities of the allomancer’s mind. This enhancement is unilateral, greatly increasing the sensitivity of all the senses all at once. Normally this information would be overwhelming and possibly damaging to the psyche. However, it is apparent that Tin’s abilities change the way the mind works, increasing its capabilities. I believe that this is actually the only true change that Tin proves. Reports indicate that a Tin eye, or a Tin misting, does not see anything that wasn’t already observable. Instead they become hyper aware of all the sensory input that their bodies are receiving and enhances the minds ability to interoperate the information. Tin also provides an ability to see through the mists of Scadrial. The Mists are a gaseous manifestation of Preservation/Harmonies power in the physical world, and thus Preservation’s Arcane abilities are granted an advantage in the Mists, most noticeably with the Tin eyes. This ability does come with many downsides. With such a sensitivity to stimuli, the allomancer is susceptible to any dramatic changes in sensory input. Unexpected loud noises or bright lights can stun and even incapacitate a Tin eye. Even with the mental enhancement, the mind can only handle so much data at once. Another cost is the enhancement of pain receptors which can also overwhelm a tin eye. In fact, the tin eye often avoids confrontation for this very reason for while burning tin they can be easily incapacitated. Tin Savants are some of the strangest invested entities in the Cosmere. The extended Tin flair causes the mind of the Allomancer to permanently change. With this enhancement, the mind becomes incredibly capable of filtering out unwanted sensations, allowing for… strange abilities. Before the Catasandra, the Lord Mistborn was a Tin-eye Misting who became the only documented Tin Savant on record. He was capable of seeing through cloth, could see stars on cloudy nights, and was even able to hear a man’s heartbeat from over thirty yards away. However, if the Savant ever runs out of Tin, his natural senses are dulled into almost nothing. This is a frightening medical condition that if left untreated runs a high risk of accidental death due to a lack of sensory data. In is my opinion that such Savants be discourage, although it must be admitted that the supernatural senses it creates fascinating and the effects of such abilities are powerful if executed properly. Tin also reflects Preservation’s intent. With the exception of the Savant, Tin does enhance an allomancer without altering the individual. Again we can see that Tin does not make the individual’s eyes better, or change the physical characteristics of the Tin-eye’s ears. Instead the changes are all about the capabilities of the mind and the ability to intemperate incoming data. This preserves the allomancer while also increasing the allomancer’s ability to survive. Savants challenge this assertion but I believe that the metaphysical changes observed in the Lord Mistborn’s life were caused by a fundamental law of investiture, rather than by the intent of Preservation. I have observed in my years of travel that those who channel large amounts of investiture for long periods of time are physically altered by the power. This is a study outside of my focus but such examples of metaphysical changes have been seen in the Soulcasters of Roshar, or the Dakhor of Sel. Prolonged and persistent Investiture creates changes in individuals even when the intent was never to produce such changes. In conclusion, the manifestation of Pewter and Tin are perfect examples of the manifestation of Preservation’s Intent, the guiding nature of the Shard. The other abilities of Allomancy also reflect this, but none as starkly as the internal physical metals. Following this article are my estimations of Pewters limitations and flared capabilities as well as personal annotations made in the Words of Founding concerning the effects of a Tin savant. Postscript: This essay is of particular note, perhaps we have been looking at these metals in the wrong light all along. If we can, I desire to conduct more tests of this nature on Kandra blessings, I am curious to see if Kandra can become Savants. Until the next letter, Elsric
  10. Hello my fellow theorist! So this letter is a little different. From the start I have wanted to make this series something that newer fans of the Cosmere can access so they can learn about the Cosmere without being overwhelmed or drenched in Spoilers. However most my videos still need a warning for those who watch so they don't accidentally learn too much. This video is the first of my in-debts examination of Allomancy, and I wanted it to be set about the ground work. Although there is some information about Elsric in here, most this information is very basic. However I hope you see this as a resource to share with your friends and family who have questions or are just starting out in the Mistborn series. I hope you enjoy: Here is the transcript for this episode. I apologies for the capitalization errors: It has been a long time since I have written one of these letters. I feel that I have slowed in my… old age and found less time to report my findings. As I stated last time we spoke, I have found myself drawn to continue my studies as an Archanist with an emphasis on Shards and Intents. This is the Abstract of my first essay submission to the Universities here. I wish to send you this summary until I can deliver a physical copy for your safekeeping. Title Page: Allomancy of the Final Empire As part of my application to the Universities and Establishments of Silverlight, I, Elsric Demorous humbly submit this analytical essay. This essay is the first in a series that will outline the interaction of the Investitures found on Scadrial through the ages, as well as conceptualization of the powers, intents, and consequences of the abilities native to Scarial. The documentation of the Scadrian system has been sporadic in nearly all cases. As far as I know, the publications of Khrissala are the only comprehensive examination of the early Scadrian system that exists in the library. The following essays will define the various investitures as well as document theorized physical, cognitive, and spiritual effects of native Scadrian powers. This first essay will primarily be a historical examination of Alloymancy, the backbone of the Final Empire and the World of Ash. The political, economic, and military bearing of allomancy will be brought to light. I will also explore the physical limitations and capabilities of the 8 basic metals and 2 high metals as they were known at the time. My original transcripts will also contain diagrams and physical calculations as I can best determine. It is said that the Mists of Sacadrial gave birth to the first of the Mistborn, hence the name. It is oddly fitting, even if the majority of these claims are apocryphal at best. The history of Allomancy in the Final Empire is brutal and succinct. The Lord Ruler, the Immortal God of the world of Ash stepped out of the mountains and granted unto his chosen servants the power of Allomancy. These founders then passed their gifts to their children and their children’s children through the ages. These family lines would form the backbone of the Empire and the nobility. Because of the heavy legal emphasis on breeding, the lines of succession remained relatively stable, although time eventually saw a steady blending between the nobility and the enslaved Skaa peasant populations. This duel cast system pervaded the Empire completely with the only effective middle class being an anomaly made up of lawless con men and thieves. This social structure and the iron fist of the Lord Ruler ensured that this political structure remained stable and mostly unchanged for a millennium. Allomancers came in two forms. The Mistings were the majority of Investiture users in the Final Empire, each person having access to just one allomantic ability. These individuals were highly desired and were greedily sought by the noble houses. Mistborn were the far rarer manifestation. With the ability to use any of the allomantic metals these individuals were nearly priceless for their utility as spies and assassins. Mistborn were far from invincible, but one Mistborn was often more effective than a small army. During the final empire there were 10 metals that were used by those gifted as allomancers. The basic 8 were grouped into two separate categories, physical and mental allomancy. In turn each classification had two allomantic pairs, a pure element and a companion alloy. The pairings often reflected each other in effect or cause. A continuation of classifications includes external and internal metals, external having an effect beyond the allomancer, while internal cause the allomancer to be altered in some way. This distinction is much clearer than the pushing and pulling classifications. I feel the terms of push and pull became part of the diction of the people of scadrial based on the effects of iron pulls and steel pushes which perform dramatic visual effects of pushing and pulling on physical metals. However, I feel this distinction begins to break down when applied to the other metals but that may be a personal idiosyncrasy. As far as the specific details of the metals and how they fall into these sub catagories will be continued in future essays. For now I wish to outline the elements and alloys that make up the core 10. Of the eight basic metals we will look at the distinction between physical metals and mental metals. The four physical metals are Iron, Steel, Tin, and Pewter. Iron and Steel exert a physical force on sources of metal that are outside of a physical body and that are within range of the allomancers reach. The distance where a metal can be affected is determined by physical size of the manipulated object as well as the distance between the allomancer and the object being pushed or pulled. Steel pushes outward while Iron pulls inward. Large metal objects are more accessible from farther away. The allomancer can see his or her connection to the metals around them via blue lines which connect them from their center of gravity to the metals themselves. Pewter and Tin are internal metals that change the physical body of the alomancer. Pewter grants greater physical strength and endurance. This additional strength does not come for an increase in muscle mass or bone density. Instead it seems to be strength lent by the actual burning process. Upon closer study I became very excited by the implications of this as you will see in my following essays. Tin is the other physical enhancement metal which increases the senses of the allomancer. Allomancers who burn tin receive a burst of sensory information all at once. Everything is noticed in a heightened state. Tin burners or Tin-eyes are susceptible to sudden changes in the environment such as bright lights and loud noises. These changes cause a sensory overload that can stun the allomancer in question. On the other hand, this over-stimulation can be used to clear one’s mind when it becomes clouded or disoriented. I believe that this is an enhancement of the mind. Tin enhances the senses that already exist, and there is no change in the outer organs of the allomancer. Therefore, it seems that it’s the minds ability to comprehend what it senses rather than a change in sensory data. Iron and Steel are the outward physical metals. These metals determine a physical distance relationship between sources of metal and the alomancer. While this has been a simplified look at the physical metals I wish to impress the reader with an understanding that these metals are not simple in the slightest. The changes that these physical metals make are curious and perhaps are unique as a form of investiture. But for the purposes of this opening essay I will move on. My theores and descriptions of these metals will be explained in much greater detail in the following essays which are dedicated to them. This also goes for the mental alomantic powers. The first pairing, Copper and Bronze are understandably complementary. Bronze allows the user to detect when an individual in range is using alomancy. This was often used by members of the policing and religious organizations of the Final Empire to find Skaa mistings who were performing illegal activities with their powers. They were also used in the inner dealings of the Great Noble houses to learn about the abilities and actions of their rivals. Copper is the alternative, which when burned creates a cloud of alomantic interference. The Copper misting or smoker created a field that blocked Bronze alomancers or Seekers from being able to detect alomantic pulses. Smokers were essential in the underworld in order for these skaa mistings to work without as great a fear of discovery. Smokers were also immune to emotional manipulation while burning their metal. The final pairing in the core 8 metals are Zinc and Brass. These are fascination in that they sway the existing emotions of people outside of the allomancer. The allomancer could target a single individual or a small group or congregation. These metals do not allow mind control or even emotional control.* Instead they act as a catalyst or a dilution of emotion, depending on the metal. Zinc allomancers are called rioters because they inflame emotion. Much like how music in a performance can heighten the emotional experience of the audience, rioters provide shortcuts for emotion, causing them to swell powerfully and encouraging emotional responses. Predictable Brass does the opposite. Brass Allomancers or Soothers smother emotions gently, calming and stabilizing the emotions of others. If overdone these soothers tend to make people dull of feeling and potentially lethargic. These two are not as simple as their counterparts. Emotions are complex in sentient beings and thus these abilities are much less effective unless the allomancer can grasp the emotions a person is feeling. Then they can encourage or suppress as they feel is best. Next we will look at the temporal effects of Gold and Atium. Gold is perhaps the most unusual of the metals. When burned, the allomancer has a strange perception switch where they seem to split into two. It is still unclear as to the nature of this splitting, however it is safe to assume that the duplicate is a shadow of who the allomancer could have become had different choices been made. However, this is strangely subjective, for there are limitless possibilities in a person’s past. Yet Gold only shows one alternative. I explore these implications later but I am still very much at a loss as to what this metal really does. My conclusions are more like concepts and will need further investigation. And finally Atium, the literal backbone of Imperial society and economy. Atium was by far the most valuable metal in the final empire. When burned the metal allows the allomancer to see a little into the future. Not only is this an extension of the senses into the future, but an expansion of the mind so that the allomancer can process the information almost by instinct. The metal was incredibly rare and burned very quickly. As long as the allomancer burned this metal they were invincible for all intents and purposes. There are only two confirmed dangers to an allomancer who is burning Atium. Either they need to be maneuvered into a position where there is no possible escape, or they must be confronted with an opponent who could also burn atium. While the powers of Atium are incredible, the effect on the Imperial markets and noble houses might have been even more significant. Despite the alluring power of this metal, it is these additional consequences that created the greatest changes and effects in the Final Empire. This archaic look into the past reminds me of just how far we have come in our understanding of the Cosmere. Like many cultures I’ve stumbled upon, the people of scadrial wield these powers without understanding what they are doing with these Investitures. Thus it is important that we study these and understand where this information started. Although this essay is simplistic in its diction, remember that this is a foundation for the more advanced information to be found in the essays that follow. However I feel that context is imperative for the reader, so I highly encourage that you do not seek out my other publications on the people of Scadrial until you have made yourself familiar with the legend of the Hero of Ages. I will follow up shortly with a continuation of these essays. Until the next time, Elsric
  11. If you have ever been confused about what Shardpools are, this is the Letter for you! This may be once of the fundamental aspects of the Cosmere, and something all of us need to be familiar with. If you would like the physical transcript, here it is: I wish life never prompted me to violence. If a situation has degraded into an all-out brawl, then I believe that all attending parties have failed. Forget achieving a positive result, at that point survival is about the only victory possible. Diplomacy, economics, and policy crumble in the face of open warfare. Sure people will cling to these things, convinced they are protecting their way of life. Yet this is a deception, a lie that one can profit off of fighting. The only victory in war goes to those who win, and those who get on the good side of the winner. I detest the boot licking that follows a powerful military leader. Besides death is a hefty price no matter what is gained. There are far better ways to fight an enemy or shape one’s fortunes. And often the poor or unnoticed are the ones who suffer the most from the wars of nations. I have learned that the keys to victory fit into three distinct locks. First, knowledge is power. Secrets and whispers can be bought from the right ears. In a world of subtly and misdirection, knowing your opponents mind is the single greatest weapon in an arsenal. I always find my sources, and am not afraid of doing my own listening. Next a weapon should never be apparent, but hidden in plain sight. I was trained in the art of the knife, a messy if effective tool. I prefer the quarterstaff or cane. Many will overlook a stick of hardened wood over a sword or knife, yet in my hands I find the hardwood to be more than adequate in a pinch. I believe people should be like that, effective, efficient, and unobtrusive. Subtly is an art, and a deadly one at that. Finally, always have a bolt hole. All plans can fail no matter how well crafted. From Slum Lords to Emperors, the ones who last are the ones who always have a backup plan to their backup plan. A bolt hole or a getaway carriage. This is the greatest advantage to being a… traveler, and might be the reason why we are so hard to kill. We all know there is a way out that practically no one can follow us through. Shard Pools. Obviously you are aware of what I speak about, but I feel a need to clarify my own thoughts. I still know so little beyond speculation. For instance, I know I can use these Shard Pools safely with the proper care, but could never explain how I do this, nor would I dare take another with me. The Cognitive Realm is a very dangerous place, and I don’t know how many can survive the process of traveling there. Shard Pools, as I like to call them, are more commonly known as Perpendicularities. This is the realmatic term most often used to describe the strange phenomena that occurs in these pools. It is apparent that Shard Pools are not lakes of water, but of raw Shardic Investiture in a liquid form. These pools are present on worlds where a shard resides and are a collection point for their power. Why these Pools appear is beyond recorded history, and why they reside where they are physically being yet another enigma. Perpendicularities contain so much raw power that they tear a hole in the universal fabric that usually separates the three realms. The Cognitive and physical realms bleed into one another, and I believe the Spiritual realms is also broken into. I have not ever stepped into that relm, so I can’t be sure. But I am in no hurry. Without knowing what makes up the Spiritual Realm in great detail, I dare not risk it. Perhaps someday, but for now I have a lot more to learn before I attempt such a journey. Shard pools are often caught up in the lore of a people or nation. Surprisingly most cultures that I have discovered don’t seem preoccupied with these strange wellsprings. I wonder if anyone ever notices travelers like me climbing in and out of them from time to time. I try my best to avoid all contact when I emerge. Naturally my lack of language will only hinder me. On that note, I will forever be grateful for my father’s tutelage and my quick wits. I know how to learn and can do so quickly. While I feel I’ll never keep up with a fraction of the languages that I’ve encountered, I make it work where I can. That might be the most difficult aspect of my travels, perhaps only surpassed by the strange foods I have to try. Can you believe that there are people who eat the horns and shells of animals? I was flabbergasted when I first tried the food of the Unkalaki. These pools seem, for the most part, to be locked into a location physically. We know that on Scadreal the Lord Ruler shaped the world, but upon reflection it seems that civilization was moved to the pools, rather than the pools themselves moving. However, this is only conjecture, and I highly doubt we could know for sure ourselves. The only other fact I know for sure is that Shard Pools are not on every world. In the Cognitive Realm you can see that there are other worlds out there. I’ve glanced through the fog of thoughts into their worlds, and yet there was no way to pass into their worlds physically. These Shard Pools, as they are named, seem to be a consequence of a Shard’s presence on a particular planet. It makes me wonder how these other worlds became populated by humans. Is there so form of travel that has been lost to time? Are there ways to reach out and escape our worlds in the physical realm? More importantly I think is the question, if all these worlds have people who are so similar, did they all come from some original home? Why did they have to leave? Ah but I tread into the obscure, more of my personal musing rather than theories based on observation. I just note how odd it is that while each planet has diverse cultures and histories, yet we are still so similar. Perhaps there is something to these thoughts. For now, I will continue to establish myself here. The current state of events on this continent is appalling. Normally integrating myself is a lengthy process, but the current chaos in the nation of Jah Keved has made assimilation almost unnecessary. War is ripping this people apart and there are so many forgotten refugees. It’s the most I can do to organize some few of these people into something productive. Their rulers are off fighting for succession, and those whom I find simply need a little guidance. I will not draw attention to myself, but I cannot leave them to be trampled and forgotten. Despite all of that, there is a breathtaking beauty to this world. I wish I could put into words the sights and smells of Roshar. The crisp air and large open skies are the superlative aspect of this world. Everything here is rock, the massive High Storms blasting away anything that is not protected. These violent storms are dangerous, and somehow majestic. They fling boulders and scatter life into hiding among the rocks. But when the storm passes there is a refreshing scenes of clean renewal. I find myself stopping often to admire the alien beauty. And don’t even get me started on the moons. The three crystalline orbs that arch through the sky at night are impossible to forget. I cannot help but watch them as they glide across a starry canvas. This journey, these years spent away from home, have been filled with wonder and beauty beyond anything I could have imagined. Perhaps the paths through the Shard Pools have been filled with sorrow and failure, but I cannot regret the things I’ve seen. I may never wish to leave Roshar save for the knowledge that there are more wonders to explore, and new peoples to learn about. For now, there is a work to do upon these stones.
  12. This might be the most important of Cosmere topics. Now we understand that the different magics and peoples of the Cosmere are fascinating and amazing. But even more so are the entities that were never alive, yet have a personality and drive of their own. These Splinters are pockets of Shardic Power that develop a type of intelligence. It is apparent that these beings are critical to the overall narrative of the Cosmere, while some are likely the perpetrators of some of the greatest evils seen so far. What are these Splinters and how do you recognize one? Transcripts: I wish my father could have come to Roshar. Things that seemed mundane to others fascinated him to no end. The rocky hills and the crustaceous life that seems to make up this entire world are so different from the home I once knew. He would have written enough dissertations and filled enough sketchbooks to drown a man in the first week alone. He was odd, but he had a love of discovery, and visiting other worlds would have been a dream come true for him. And my brother…. He would have loved seeing all the different shapes spren come in. The spren are small spirit looking entities that appear around the planet. Forces and states of mind that normally too subtle to observe clearly are manifested visually making their study far easier to perform empirically. I believe that a spren is a physical representation of a cognitive entity. They are not physical in the sense that you can touch them, or that they have any sort of measurable mass. But they remind me of the simple minds that exist, attached to the objects in the Cognitive realm. However, these are not attached to any one object, rather they are bound to a purpose or intent. For instance, if one is provoked into anger, anger spren seem to be drawn out, and serve as a secondary indicator of the being’s intent. There are also Spren tied to more ecological forces, such as flame spren and river spren. I’ve even observed spren that seem to account for things unseen, such as wind spren and life spren. This aspect of spren and their natures yields promising potential in the fields of science and sociology. It must be far easier to consult or comfort someone when fear spren manifest their anxiety. In my personal journals I have been writing up my observations of the spren and their forms. My notes are far from professional and I doubt anyone but myself would be interested in these notations. I feel there must be some connection between the existence of spren and the High Storms which bring great rushing surges of Investiture. These cataclysmic storms occur most weeks if not multiple times a week. Such a rush of raging power must have metaphysical effects along with the violent weather phenomena that is the storm wall. Now while I would love to chat about spren all day, this letter is a particular note because I have a theory about what these spren actually are. You see they take up a form that is far too intelligent to be just a stray consciousness. Some of the larger spren are able to interact and mimic people, such as wind spren. They have an almost playful attitude towards life and have been known to play pranks on humans they encounter. No, there is something far greater at work here. As you know from my previous letter, I am now aware of the former existence of Adonalsium and of the shattering. These fractured Shards left and later developed a drive or fundamental nature to themselves. Shards are immense in scope and power. This power yields abilities that seem only limited to the imagination. In fact, we know from the “Words of Founding” that Shards have created life from their power. Now getting back to the topic at hand, these spren do not act like any animal I have ever come across. They seem to thrive on ideas and concepts of the human mind. By observing and often mimicking what they interact with, spren reveal that they have a core nature. They are drawn to some kid of theme or purpose. This tendency, to have and hold true to an idea or states of environment that reflects what they themselves are. In this way they remind me of matured Shards. As you recall, the Shards seem to have a compulsion to see out a particular ideal, usually summarized by the name they adopt. The spren seem to mimic this type of behavior and single-mindedness. I postulate, based on these observations that spren are little pockets of Shardic power. Unlike raw Investiture, which is simply harness-able energy, spren are power with a measured intelligence and will. They are like Splinters of a soul. It is easier to understand this position when you visit the Cognitive Realm. There the Spren seem far more complex, and even dangerous. There are whispers of larger spren that have intelligence and memories who live there. I hope to do more direct observing as soon as I have established myself with the peoples here. I have seen enough to recognizes that there is something nearly supernatural about these beings. It seems reasonable to assume that these spren are pieces of a greater whole. Splinters are entities of power that were never alive as a humanoid, but attain a level of… consciousness. This is where things are still a bit fuzzy. It cannot be denied that the spren are intelligent, at least in a broad sense. By contrast the Returned on Nalthis also carry with them a Splinter in the form of a divine breath. In fact, all breath might be considered a splinter since they are portions of a Shards power, but a Divine Breath is unique. Yet it must be asked, are the Returned a person brought back from death by infusing their soul with a splinter, or does the Splinter itself inherit the body of a dead person? The answer to this might simply be both, and for this particular argument the distinction is not important. What matters is that there is an intent behind both a spren and Divine Breath. I would then also guess from my studies that Seons could be considered Splinters. They are far more than just a symbol of Aon-dor, and they exemplify obedient intelligence with a profound memory and distinct personality. In this way they might be the most advance form of documented Splinter to date. However, there is a potential in the spren, and if the Nightwatch and Stormfather can be confirmed as massive spren, they might be the most powerful Splinters known to man. I am particularly intrigued by this Nightwatycher. There are rumors that she can grant requests that come with an associated boon. If this is more than a myth, the implications are… staggering. Regardless I plan to make the journey to see this being. I also hope to find a good location to watch a High Storm, hopefully I will be able to observe this Storm Father for myself. As I’ve pondered these findings, my thoughts turned to Scadreal. At first I couldn’t think of any beings or entities there that would count as Splinters. In fact, I still feel that Scadreal has never seen a Splinter according to the historical records that we have. Yet I pause at the thought of the Kandra. The shapeshifters are intelligent beings that once were mindless creatures. They gained their intelligence via the powers of two hemalergic spikes. This was when I made the connection between spikes and Splinters. This may be an unrelated correlation, but the similarities are strong, and only separated by scope. Most hemalergic spikes are simply a form of spiritual surgery, ripping one soul apart and splicing pieces of that soul into another person. But with the kandra, they grant actual consciousness as if they were a Splinter themselves. Perhaps they are. However, I abhor the thought of anyone performing an investigation. Any testing with Hemallergy will be destructive beyond the point of rationality. What troubles me are the whispers of these Voidbringers. On Roshar there are tales of monsters built of stone and darkness that once sought the destruction of all sentient life on this world. The rumors are whispers at best, but I have made several well informed connections. If my discoveries here are accurate and these void spren are actually real, then we are dealing with splinters that are openly hostile. My guess is that these spren move with an intent and were created purposefully by a destructive Shard. I see now why I was sent here, for history seems ripe to repeat itself. I wish to be absolutely wrong about this, but my gut feeling is that there is a great destruction coming. To you, I suggest the following caution. Should I prove right, and find that there are evil spren sent to do the work of a destructive shard, be sure to look for the patterns. These splinters seem to be mimics or replicas of what already exists here. This goes against all that I have observed on other worlds where the Shards manifest uniquely when exerting their respective Investiture powers. If this Dark one seeks to mimic his fellows, then his touch may be subtle. Look for the signs of madness or corruption of what already exists. Red eyes… perhaps this is another sign to watch for. There are reports that the people who wage war here have recently been seen with glowing red eyes. This might be the only reliable way to recognize the servants of this being. Then again, it is possible that there are multiple Shards attempting to cause upheaval and destruction. That thought alone sends a shiver up my spine. I will continue to look into these Void bringers, and there are more reports coming in all the time. Something inside me feels as if there is a great bell just beginning to toll the final hours of this place. The air almost hums with tension and I fear that someday this world will break. I hope your messengers can find me amidst what is to come. Perhaps I am wrong, but this seems all too familiar. I wish I had more time, but I am afraid… afraid that I will once again watch innocent lives be snuffed out. I don’t want to watch another world die. Elsric
  13. What is a Worldhopper? They are select individuals who have learned how to travel between the different Shard worlds in the Cosmere. The most likely way that these individuals do is is by sinking into shard pools and emerging in the cognitive realm, where the minds of men connect across the vastness of space. This allows for people to walk from world to world, assuming they can do so in safety. Hoid is a perfect example of a worldhopper, although there are others. There are also other, less known ways of entering the Cognitive realm. Who know what will become of worldhoppers. Transcript: This letter is more of a journal entry than a field report. I had started to wonder if I would ever see another messenger. I know that travel across the Cosmere is difficult and dangerous, but it’s been years. Your call back is… troubling at best. However, I will not disguise the fact that your abrupt silence was causing me to consider returning anyway. Needless to say, the Cognitive Realm may be a home to dreams and ideas of men, but some of those dreams are nightmares come with some serious teeth. The philosophers of the various worlds often discuss the dangers and natures of ideas among a population. Naturally they were making references to the fickle hearts of men in times of transition and stress. Individuals such as you and me know that the dangers of ideas are real in the Cognitive Realm. There is nothing more terrifying than the realization that one slip, one misstep or encounter with a powerful cognitive being and your life can be snuffed out like a candle in the wind. I once practically lived among the shadows of the cognitive realm, and now that I have returned once again, I find myself fearing that abyss. Although you may understand the traversing of the Cognitive realm in an academic sense, I doubt you truly understand the strange and fascinating perils that reside here. Roshar is of itself particularly dangerous, for the Spren here are far more powerful than their diminished counterparts in the physical realm. Here they are a horde, most are more like forces of nature rather than beings of intellect. They move and act, bound by their nature and intent. I have been warned by the whispers of the cryptics of the dangers their fellows present. One should not travel the Cognitive realm lightly here. On the other hand, the spren are fascinating to converse with. The cryptics in particular seemed to enjoy my company, something about the lies I tell. I found that they themselves were hard to ply for information, but if you listen carefully you can decipher meaning in their circling words. They remind me of politicians if I am honest, perhaps that is why I felt I could follow their logic better. It was almost like being with family again. I have seen the powers of Investiture here on Roshar that create holes or perpandicularies in the cognitive realm. This is most fascinating because until now, I had assumed that the only points where someone could pass from the physical world into the Cognitive real was through locations of condensed Investiture. Shard Pools, as they are called, are points on the various worlds where the raw power and investiture of a Shard collects and condenses. So far I have found such pools on each of the worlds I have visited, for I could not have traversed there without them. Yet there are old stories and new whispers that claim that some of the Knights Radiant can send themselves physically into the Cognitive Realm without using a shard pool. I also believe that the Oath Gates that I’ve used to travel great distances in an instant also operate by traversing the Cognitive Realm but how this works is still a mystery to me. I wonder if someday everyone will have access to the Cognitive Realm. I have a…unique background and with concentration, I can pass through a perpendiculary with relatively safely. The issue is, I don’t know if just anyone can survive this process. I have never tested it, fearing what would happen if the concentrated power would harm or kill others. The concentration of pure Investiture is so great that it effectively dissolves the boundaries between the physical and cognitive realms. Perhaps like so many things in the Cosmere, using the Shard pools in this way is more about Intent, rather than physical limitation. Sadly, the ways of these pools are far exciding my understanding. One of the many reasons why I am hesitant to use them is rooted in the knowledge that I understand almost nothing about the mysteries of shard pools, except that they can carry me between realms. Even so, I know there are others who use these pools for the very purpose I do. As I have written to you before, Hoid is a master of traversing the various worlds via shard pools. In fact, I think that the only way he can be reasonably tracked is watching the points where he can travel. However, he is far too crafty to make it that easy to catch him. Independent of our little organization, the 17th Shard is the only operating group of Worldhoppers that I know of for sure. They seem to see themselves as a policing force, attempting to keep some kind of balance and observing the actions that are happening across the Cosmere. Like I have said before, they are no longer fond of me since I set foot and integrated myself among the people of Roshar. They seem to feel that these peoples are far too easy for an outsider to manipulate. Although they have sought me out, I have hidden myself well and make sure not to draw attention or meddle in things other than behind the scenes. Besides, subtlety is often a more powerful tool in making things happen. Let the heroes take the spotlight. Instead I move people into places they need to be, funds where they are most advantageous, and building structure and wealth where there is chaos. Where some wield knives or armies, I wield politics, information, and influence. I sometimes feel ashamed of the distinct advantages my skills and knowledge allow me. Yet doing nothing, as my pursuers would wish of me, would go against all that I have become. Never again will I sit back and watch the world burn beneath me. I have been given too many gifts and understanding to just let myself wander away. I will watch, and I will nudge when I feel it will be of greatest benefit. I am not a man to make history, just a man who wants things to run as smoothly as possible. Regardless, I have kept an eye out for these 17th shard peace keepers, they will not get in my way for long. There must be others out there that traverse the worlds beyond their home. The only possible exception would be travelers from Sel. Sel is nearly impossible to visit, and very dangerous at that. Well, all the Cognitive Realm is dangerous for the physical bodies that walk the dark paths. But Sel is far more so even than Roshar. Yet I have a feeling that if travelers haven’t been able to leave as of yet, they someday will find a way. At the moment, only a small number of people know that Worldhopping is possible. But as the peoples of these worlds grow, it becomes more and more likely that others will eventually learn of the secrets of the shard pools. Will we one day see networks of interdimensional highways connecting the peoples of the Cosmere? Will worlds ever push to expand their borders, seeing opportunity in the lands of beyond? With there ever become a time where I become so well know, that I can no longer blend in with alien societies? The future of worldhopping is as unpredictable as the people who practice the art. It is amusing how often we cross paths, seeing how large the Cosmere is. But I feel that many of us are drawn to large and pivotal points in the narratives of the Shard worlds. In fact, as I make my way back to my homeland, I wonder if Hoid or the Scholar have already traveled there. I never thought I would return, but what is more surprising is the fact that I think I am ready to return. After failing my family, knowing they died because I was not strong enough to protect them, I thought I could never face the world that let them die. Yet, dare I say, my travails on Roshar has shown me that through despair and failure, we often learn and gain the strength that we lacked when we were younger. Your report was cryptic at best. Your long silence had me believing that our communications were being intercepted or lost somehow. Disturbing thoughts, that remind me of darker days. In fact, I wonder what forces could be out there, continuing to conspire against us. Perhaps this is why I was called in the first place, to stand and recognize the signs of corruption as they manifest. If the danger you implied is caused by a fallen Shard… well, I just hope I am not too late. I look forward to meeting in person once again, if anything I can’t wait to see the look on your face to see the backlog of reports you now need to sift through, you could make a book out of them I’m sure. I also bring a gift from Roshar, something that might make these reports easier to manage in the coming years, assuming we can keep the gemstones charged. Until we meet again, Elsric Please remember, anyone can submit art for this series, so if you want to share anything, please message me and we can get it in there!
  14. A massive thank you to all the fantastic artists for the creative works and to The Darkeyed Musician for her musical composition! Please make sure to check out their links and support them in their work. Kaladin - Words of Radience by emann29: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Kaladin-Words-of-Radience-462831658 Beneath the Shattered Plains by woutart http://woutart.deviantart.com/art/Beneath-the-Shattered-Plains-607677436 Breath by Emerald-Depths http://emerald-depths.deviantart.com/art/Breath-426869221 TWoK - The King's Wit by BotanicaXu http://botanicaxu.deviantart.com/art/TWoK-The-King-s-Wit-409756211 The Survivor by The-demons-heart http://the-demons-heart.deviantart.com/art/The-Survivor-483045604 Wit vs Hoid by BotanicaXu http://botanicaxu.deviantart.com/art/Wit-vs-Hoid-417088327 Raodin by Esamitch http://esamitch.tumblr.com/ Parshendi by Esamitch http://esamitch.tumblr.com/ This episode focuses on the Worldhopper Hoid, who is a persistent character through the Brandon Sanderson Cosmere books. Hoid could be labeled the first Worldhopper. He has appeared and been documented in nearly every story arc in the Cosmere including Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive, and Warbreaker. In this episode Elsric talks about his observations of Hoid and commits to keep an eye on the elusive man. There is a greater plan to his motions and all the readers of the Cosmere accounts should keep their eyes peeled for sightings of him. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Please leave a comment or ask any questions that you have so that I can address them at a future date. If you would like to share your art in a future "Letters from the Cosmere" please contact me at my channel E-mail: [email protected] Want to hear the story about how this series was started by Brandon Sanderson and myself? Here is a link to the story on 17th Shard: Script for Episode 4 - "Who is Hoid?" I am not sure how many men or women I have met who have lived as long as I have. Part of me can hardly believe how much it cost me both spiritually and monetarily to achieve this timelessness. Yet it doesn’t feel unnatural. On the contrary, I have been able to hone and master my skills far beyond what they were when my journey began. I was always skilled in the art of politics and playing the games of the nobility. However due to my longevity, I feel that even my subpar combat skills have improved greatly. When I found myself with more time than I could fathom, I took to the ways of the Cosmere and walked the paths between worlds. And I am far from alone in my exploration. I am not sure if it is my newfound abilities or a consequence of my long life, but there are “old souls” of whom I have recognized at a mere glance. Perhaps it is the vestige in their eyes, eyes that have seen too many wonders to be contained. Souls that have aged and flourished. As I sit at the edge of these chasms, awaiting my first walk into the mystery that is Urithiru, I seem able to see far into the night. Somewhere on this world, is another Wanderer, one who has lived far longer than I. You know of him as well, for he was to be found walking my homeland before I lost everything. Your response was cryptic when I inquired about the Wanderer whom I encountered, but I have more or less filled in the gaps you left bare. Oddly he looks nothing like he did back then, and your description of the man reminded me of yet another time we might have crossed paths. His eyes, the eyes of this Hoid, if that is his real name, look familiar to me for a reason. I met him in Hallandren itself. At that time, he was a master story weaver, a man who was often called before the court of gods and was very expensive. I assumed him to be an informant and never hired him personally. Yet those eyes struck me that day, although I didn’t realize why. He happened to be called to a party I had attended. He never said a word to me, but as he moved through the colorful attendees we locked eyes for the briefest moment and I nearly tripped. His eyes had such an intensity, like a fire burning too bright to look at directly. Those eyes drilling right through me seemed to strip me of my façade and examine my very soul. And then the moment passed and he was gone. Until now I had put aside this memory, but I am sure that it was him. Now the rest of my knowledge is distilled from speculation and guesswork. However, I understand that you are curious about this man and his intentions. Quite honestly, if I hadn’t seen the pure steele behind those eyes, I would say he makes things up as he goes. When he confronted me in the Cognitive Realm he seemed driven by a compulsion to stand before me and encourage my passions. He whispered his talk of the 16 shards and the coming deaths that a fallen shard would soon be bringing. It seemed so important, so well timed to catch me right before my mission began. And now I am here, directly interfering in the plans of Gods and men alike. He moves with a purpose, following a plan that I feel I have only glimpsed a drops worth in an ocean of mysterious intent. It is safe to say that this Hoid has traveled all over the Cosmere. He steps in right when a critical nudge is needed. I have observed him doing this, as well as confirmed some of the strange whispers of the King of Alethkar’s servant, someone called Wit. If there are important events happening in the Cosmere, a tipping point or critical juncture, Hoid will be there I can guarantee it. Each time I have seen him he has worn a completely different appearance. From age to hairstyles he all but reinvents himself from place to place. But you can be sure it is him. In fact, I would guess that his compulsion to throw out witticisms and sarcastic remarks might be the only way to truly know who he is for sure. That level of self-confident mockery cannot be faked. How he knows where to be is a mystery of the ages. However, I have seen many strange and impossible things these past centuries. Perhaps he sees where he needs to be before he gets there. This is a comforting theory, because I wonder if I am making a difference. If this “appointed path” idea is real, then I have been swept along with him. I also must impress upon you the age of Hoid, or more accurately the vast age of Hoid. To him I felt as but a child. He seemed to see patterns in the very fabric of creation itself. He might even be as old as creation itself. Hoid spoke of the ascended men and women who are now Gods as if he knew them personally. He whispered of the machinations that had been turning for thousands of years, and he said all this without batting an eye. To hear him speak was akin to hearing the stones tell tales of all they have seen. Entire nations have risen and fallen before his eyes, including my own. And yet there seems more. This is more of a feeling, but it seems he has seen the beginning of all that the Cosmere is, and that he plans to see the end as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he out lives us all, and that is saying something. It would be folly to look for him. He knows how to hide, and I suspect he understands your abilities all too well. A man such as he must carry powers beyond what I have seen or imagined. Perhaps he seeks to chronicle all the powers of the Cosmere itself? His motivations are unclear, and that troubles me. I believe he is working to save lives, that much was clear when he spoke about the desolation that was coming to Roshar. No, what worries me is what he plans to do with all this time. There are things in motion now. My instincts tell me that Hoid is playing two games at once. A game that has been set and played for a very long time, and we are all just pawns dancing our dance before his agile fingers. This is a game he plans on winning. I am an informant, and such games are nearly second nature to me. I am impressed by those who understand the power of subtlety, and Hoid might be a master, despite his powerful personality. Perhaps this is his source of strength. Regardless, informants and secret keepers learn quickly that the short term game always leads to an eventual loss. If you want to win, you make every victory and defeat a part of the true plan. Hoid is a crafty manipulator. For that alone, I intend to keep my eye on him as best I can. So you can count on future letters about his work, so long as I can keep him within earshot. Despite all that he has done for me, the ones who know the most are the most dangerous. If I’m not careful, I could be set up to fall. Perhaps I will eventually see the board he plays. If knowledge is power, then he shouldn’t be the only one wielding it. Until the next Letter, Elsric
  15. Hello fellow Shardlings! (Is that the word? Oh well, your my Shardlings anyway) So I am proud to announce that "Letters From the Cosmere" is officially out of production and live on YouTube! This is a YouTube series that I thought would be helpful as a resource for new community members who wished to learn about Brandon's Cosmere in manageable packets of information. I also wanted this to be entertaining for members of the community who were already well established. In this series the World Hopper Aarik writes letters to his acquaintances about the things he has observed as he has traversed the Cosmere. If you want to see it for yourself, follow the link here: Hello! If you want more info about why this exists, I have an explanation. So a couple years back I was first introduced to the Cosmere by a dear friend who handed me a copy of Mistborn. I devoured that book and proceeded to perchance every Brandon Sanderson Book I could. I remember my shock when I first suspected that there were characters and a particular Black Sword that I had seen in other books appearing in the newer stories. I had assumed that these were all just different stories. That was when my friend informed me about the idea of the Cosmere. I was so excited I jumped online and did a quick search for the Forms. Holy Cow The amount of information was staggering. It was amazing, but staggering. I remember not knowing where to start or even what questions to ask. I think everyone starts off a little star struck. Hoping to find a good foundation I turned to YouTube. In the past I had researched the Star Wars EU by watching informational videos fans had made for YouTube so I thought there would be Cosmere videos as well. There were none. A few months latter when I staggered from 17th Shard a much wiser man, I started thinking about that first YouTube search. I had an active YouTube account where had started making serious weekly content. I decided that I wanted to make the videos that I had hoped to find when I had first joined. But I didn't want this to just be a boring list of facts, or a review of each book. I wanted to do something with more life and flavor. I wanted these letters to feel like they were a part of the Cosmere. I worked on the premise for months, crafting and re crafting the idea in my mind and in my notes. I was prepared when Brandon came to town on his recent 2016 Book Signing Tour. Our convention was small, and I was able not only to pitch my idea to Brandon, but we were able to talk about it in length for several hours. At first he was concerned, and who wouldn't be? I was wanting to create something using his intellectual property. However as the discussion continued, I could see the gears turning in his mind. Eventually I must have sold him on the idea because he tanked me for asking him in person and said, "I give you personal permission to make this YouTube series." We spent the next several hours having a stop and start conversation about this project. Naturally I was trying not to hog him from the other fans, but playing him in a game of magic helped. He also seemed excited to give me tips. He made several suggestions about paths I could take with the character, but left a lot up to me. I will be sending him a personal detailed report so as to make sure everything checks out, but I got the clear impression that he wanted me to own this project. Also, I need to say that this project would be far weaker without the fantastic artists who offered their support for the work. I contacted the artist of each painting that I used and asked their permission to use their work. I will NEVER steal a piece of art, even if it's easy to download. I want to work with the artists and I hope that more artists will be inspired by this project and share their talent with all of us in these Letters. Please make sure you send some love and thankful messages to the amazing artists. They deserve every bit of praise they get. And that now leads us here. I am so happy that this first episode is available. I have already received encouragement and support from the community members who have found it. I cannot wait to make more of these episodes. I honestly think this will be a series I will be making for years and years to come. I hope that you enjoyed this taste, and that you come back for more. If you are an artist and want to share your work with the world, I would love to work with you.I hope you all enjoy this series. If you have any thoughts I hope you will share them, just remember to be courteous with each other. Obviously I am not Brandon and will get things wrong from time to time. However I will do my best to only say what I know, or try to make it clear that the character is speculating. Hope you have a wonderful day and I'll see you around the Cosmere! -TheBlueShifting PS I have had a couple requests to see the text version of the episode. I have decided to post that here on my Forms in 17th Shard. There may be slight deviations, but overall the text is the same. I also reserve the right to edit the content in the future if Brandon points out any changes that need to be made, though I doubt that will happen with this episode. Here you go! I don’t quite know how to start this letter. Lines like dear friends or colleagues seem inconsistent with our perceived “relationship”. Needless to say, I have not decided to abandon our friend’s request that I chronical my travels. My father would be proud to see that after all this time I became a scholar after a fashion. But I suppose I should start with the fundamentals of what I have learned and work my way to the finer aspects. Although my knowledge is limited, I share what I know, and what I suspect to be true. But first, a foundation: Look around you. Everything you see, the walls of your house, the air you are breathing, even the light entering your eyes are all a part of the Cosmere. It is all that is, all that was, and all that will be. Everything is connected by the forces that shape the universe. Light and Gravity. Investiture and Cognition. Even the souls of men are manifestations of the cosmere itself. In my travels I have gained a unique perspective of what the cosmere is and what it contains. Our inheritance, our birthright, is to explore this vast Cosmere, our home. And in it, to see the divine attributes that shape it. When I was first educated by my father, I often contemplated my place in the world. I would look North to the dark peeks that stood just at the edge of sight and wonder what lay beyond them. I look back now and almost laugh at the wide eyed youth who couldn’t imagine a world larger than the town I grew up in. I who have set foot in the shadows of other worlds and cultures across space and time. Although my introduction to the greater cosmere was a feat of happenstance, I find great pleasure in diving the nature of the universe in my own way. Before I write anything else I need to clarify what the comere is by the simplest definition. There are three major aspects of the Cosmere, these three realms or dimensions shape and in turn are shaped by each other. They are effectively inseparable, Each one with its own rules and capacities. Despair their alien nature, the fundamentals of these realms are fairly straightforward. First we have the tangible or Physical realm. This is the home of all the peoples of the Cosmere. Three dimensions ruled by gravity and light, physics is the language upon which we understand this dimension. Luckily I was educated in mathematics and physics, a far more useful education than I appreciated at the time. Although the worlds of men and sentient races are separated by vast oceans of distances, these worlds each share the common elements of mathematical proofs and similar ecosystems. Although the tree realms are intertwined, it is unclear if the physical realm is dependent on the other realms to exist. However, it is apparent that the physical world has a dramatic effect on the other two realms, especially in the cognitive realm. When you step outside, you will find that you are followed by a shadow. Although you are the source of the shadow and it’s movements, the shadow is not a part of you, but a type of warped reflection. The cognitive realm is a shadow of the physical realm. Everything that has a conception, a form, or a name, has a spark of cognition. By naming and defining the objects and forces of our physical world, we give them a life and mind of their own. Most of the time, calling these entities “intelligent” is a stretch of the truth. Each idea starts as a small, simple spark, so fleeting that it is lost in the sea of drifting minds that form the substance of the cognitive realm. Sometimes these ideas can grow, and take a form and intelligence all their own. I have heard tales of creations like the Ceons of Sel which are created as helpers for the Elantrians. I’ve even encountered some advanced cognitive minds that call themselves spren on the Shard world of Roshar. If you were to physically visit the cognitive realm, you would find that what we see as a physical land mass is instead a sea of cognitive thoughts. Traveling through this sea can be tricky, even dangerous to some. In contrast, large bodies of water in the physical world manifest as a solid mass obscuring the minds that dwell below. Distance and time mean little in the cognitive realm, and the thoughts of men are connected across the cosmere. The men and women who world hop use the cognitive realm which bind the various shard worlds together. Those who have learned the secrets of travel by investiture can traverse the cosmere by simply walking. The Spiritual Realm is the most mysterious of the three realms. In fact, I doubt that there is any being that still interacts with the cognitive and physical realms who truly knows what lies beyond its borders. All that is know is that there is a part of man, an essence of some kind that exists in this realm. What is very strange is that most of the powers and investitures that are used throughout the cosmere are manifestations of the spiritual realm in the physical world. Perhaps the soul forms a conduit for the power between the spiritual realm and the physical and cognitive. I feel that there is no limit to the breath and depth of the spiritual realm, and that mankind has only tapped into a miniscule sliver of the power that resides there. These three form the trinity of all life in the cosmere. However to separate these into different categories is almost counter intuitive. In order to examine the different aspects of the Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual, we have to label and categorize them as individual places or planes of existence. However it is important to remember that these three occupy the same “space” or area. For instance, if you were to pass from the physical world into the Cognitive world, you would seem to appear in an alien and unstable land of darkness and mist. However in regards to traveling, you would remain in the same location and may find common recognizable landmarks on the other side. This connection is important, however the different realms do not seem to share the laws of physics and time as we understand it. Having been one of the few to set foot beyond the Physical realm, I have developed a deep appreciation of the complexity, depth, and scope of the universe. With all our study and expansive thought, with the literal power of the Gods in our fingertips, we still know so little about the ways and wisdoms of the cosmere. I am not a scholar, not truly, which you dear reader must find incredibly frustrating. Yet as I look upon the surface of another world, I am compelled to learn all I can. This shall be the first of many letters I’m sure. Despite my hesitation to agree to this arrangement, I understand the value of the things I have observed and continue to observe. Should I fall prey to the dangers of the cosmere I would hope that I could leave some kind of legacy. Be wary with these letters for there are forces and organizations who seek to stop meddlers like. I find that the more I learn and explore the closer I get to catastrophe. Currently I am returning to the shard world Roshar. Something is happening there that is sending ripples throughout the cognitive realm. There is a darkness coming and that is something I cannot ignore. Until the next time, Aarik
  16. What is Investiture? For such a foundational aspect of the Cosmere, it is not always clarified what exactly the word means. In this episode we talk about the meaning of the word and stare some specific examples of Investiture on several major Shard Worlds. Elsric also shares some of his personal terminology about the different types of Investiture and the ways that people can access the power. To read the story about how I worked with Brandon Sanderson to make this series, look at my post here: Please remember to check out the amazing art that was shared with this episode and let the artists know how much we appreciate what they have done! Subscribe for more updates and videos every week about great stories and funny moments. I hope you enjoy what I can do! Here is the transcript for this episode: As I have said before, my father was a scholar at heart. He was taken with locking himself away with his books and a chalkboard in the family library. As I grew he took it upon himself to teach me what he could. However, I never had any formal lessons because he was often so scattered in his research projects that he would shut himself in his study and turn us away having completely forgotten that he was the one to invite us to join him an hour earlier. Eventually my siblings and I would catch him and we would dive into the lessons as best we could. He was a soft-spoken man, but he was truly brilliant. On rare occasions, noble scholars from far away would stop by and converse with my Father. I’m not entirely sure what his specialty was, but based on his contraptions I think it had something to do with Engineering. I will never forget the phrase he often repeated during our studies. He said, “In all things there is balance if you look closely enough. Cause and Effect, Push and Pull, Action and reaction.” He said that there was no better laboratory than nature, for all things followed the fundamental laws that ran all of creation. I wish I could share with him what I know now. After all these years, I finally see what he was trying to teach me. The miraculous things that I witnessed on other worlds are bound by natural rules and there is an accounting for all the incredible abilities that people can wield. Investiture is just one word to describe the fundamental power by which men bend the forces of the Cosmere with intent to their will. Words like Sand Shaping, Burning Metals, Drawing Aons, and Surgebinding are all in effect the manipulation of Investiture. When something or someone is considered Invested, they hold a portion of Divine power or potential. Stormlight is possibly the best example because the body literally thrums with unbridaled power that is then translated into a Focus by the user via a bond to a spren. When I say Focus, I mean the nature and shape that the power takes. On Sel, the Elantrians use the complex shapes and markings of Aon Dor to dictate the shape and power of the Investiture. While this is a complex system to master, it holds the most fluidity. In application it is near limitless in what it can do with the right knowledge. However, their power is, for the most part, limited to the geographical location of Sel, even to specific continents. I would call this an Open Concept Manifestation, because it really has no set shape or application, although the time and learning necessary to access the power of the dor is a distinct downside to such an adaptable system. On the other hand, the best example of a Closed Concept Manifestation of Investiture can be found in Alloymancy. By its nature, Allowmancy is limited by very harsh rules. The metals that can be burned to access Investiture need to be pure and properly mixed as alloys in order to work. In fact, an allomancer who burns metals that are impure or improperly crafted can get sick or die from the mistake. The benefit is that the powers granted by Aloymancy are dependable and simple. However, there is little to nothing more to be learned. All Alloymancers are limited to the powers of the metals, no matter the skill or experience of the user. This means quick and adaptable powers, but sever limitations in shaping the Investiture that gives them power. The application of each type of Investing can range to fit a variety of settings, but each one must take a unique coarse to the eventual goal. The paths to Investiture vary in form and execution just as how languages differ between different nations. All Language seeks to bring together understanding, but the execution can be very different between different peoples and are usually not compatible with each other. I would assume that Investiture would be the same, although I am not sure if there are limitations to using said powers. I know for instance that the proper metals and alloy mixes are useful to Alloymancers no matter where they physically are. I’ve seen that Elantrians can employ Investiture outside of Sel, although I am unsure how they overcome the natural geographical limits to their powers. In fact, I think that travel in the Cosmere would be impossible if the beings who traverse it ultimately did not have access to the powers of their homelands. It is clear to me that the power of the Spiritual Realm is accessable in all places in the Cosmere. Unlike the Physical and Cognitive realms, it seems there is no apparent change in the ability to access the Spiritual realm no matter the location of the individual. So the limitation is found in the abilities to access the power itself Each world is governed by a different set of natural laws that determine who can access the power and how that investiture can be used. On Nalthis, each person is born with an endowment of Investiture called breath. It is a small connection to the Cosmere itself and has little effect. But it can be given to others, and with enough Breath one can command once living objects into servitude. Words and symbols hold the key on Sel, where elantrians draw patterns in the air to give shape to the Dor, and Dakor etch their will onto the bones. There are whispers of other arts with ink and blood that shape the fabric of reality itself, but I have not seen this personally. But what all these forms share is the dependence of a physical drawing that shapes the Investiture into what they need. There is a world called Taldain that I only just heard about. I hope to visit it sometime soon, but there is very little known about it yet. However, there are hints of shapers of the sand, who manipulate and mold the sand found on that world. I imagine it would be a beautiful art to observe. On Scadrial, the people use the metallic arts. The use of metals manifests physical, mental, enhancement, and temporal power through three known forms. Aloymancers draw Investiture directly from the source and use the power in a limited fashion. Ferochemists storm their natural attributes by saving them up into the metals, using them like the gemstones on Roshar to store the abilities for later use, and can use them in an accelerated rate. And then there is Hemalergy, darkest of the arts that I know, which destroys life to steal power from the sacrifice, to then spike it into another’s soul. On Roshar, as I said, the spren form a bridge between the Investiture of Stormlight for use by the Radiant to whom they are bonded. The Parshendi seem to be able to bond spren as well, but it is not the same as the nahel bond, and I don’t know by what method they do this. The unknown bond is actually a focus of my study, for I feel that this is critical to understanding the struggles we are facing in this war. It might even be the key to our salvation. I am positive that there are other worlds that I have not even heard of. If there is one thing that I hope for, it’s that I can continue to learn more about the incredible abilities and peoples of the Cosmere. Despite the danger I am currently in, I am living life again. I never thought that the struggles and danger here would awaken my soul. Elsric