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TheBlueShifting posted a topic in General Brandon DiscussionHello 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