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  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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