ShardlessVessel

Ideas on Hemalurgy

21 posts in this topic

This isn't going to be a full-fledged theory, but rather some thoughts that I've been having for a while. I was looking up some details on Feruchemy for tabletop gaming purposes (I could find no conclusive answer as to whether it has to be snapped like Allomancy), and I stumbled upon this WOB that gave me an implication and reminded me of an idea I had.

Here's the WOB: https://wob.coppermind.net/events/90/#e4620

The Implication

 

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Questioner

Could Nightblood theoretically be turned into a Hemalurgic spike?

Brandon Sanderson

The problem with that is that Nightblood is already invested, so it depends on your version of ' Hemalurgic spikes'. Piercing someone's body with Invested metal can have weird effects all through the Cosmere, but ripping off a piece of a person's soul using an un-Invested spike to Invest it and create one is different... we're talking about two different things, right. So there's the.... so what is a Hemalurgic spike? For instance if you've got a spike that's Invested and you stick it into a Kandra on Scadrial it will still work as an Invested Hemalurgic spike. Making a new Invested spike by ripping off a person's soul, that's a different process and a little more difficult to accomplish and requires some specialized knowledge.

 

The parts that got my attention were these:

"Piercing someone's body with Invested metal can have weird effects all through the Cosmere"

"ripping off a piece of a person's soul using an un-Invested spike to Invest it and create one is different"

"For instance if you've got a spike that's Invested and you stick it into a Kandra on Scadrial it will still work as an Invested Hemalurgic spike"

The implication is that any Invested spike can be used for Hemalurgic purposes, including such things as metalminds, Lashed metals, Forged metals or otherwise Invested metals that are inserted in the body. Can anybody point me to a WOB that categorically denies that you can use a metalmind as a spike?

The Idea

My other idea is far-fetched, though I'm not entirely certain whether it's more or less crazy than what I implied above.

Here's my thought process: objects have minds. They have a Cognitive aspect, and they're aware. They know what they are, they remember what they were, and they can be Connected to people, places, other objects, and more. Objects must have a spiritweb, though it may be rudimentary.

Hemalurgy works by altering a spiritweb. If you rip off a piece of a person's spiritweb and staple it to someone else, the latter person becomes a little more like the former person in some way, though the process may twist them into something unnatural.

What if you took a piece of a person's spiritweb and stapled it into someTHING else? Say I steal a Coinshot's alomantic ability, take the bloody spike from his chest and stab it into a bracelet? Can I transfer the allomantic ability to the bracelet? Can I take the density of steel and splice it into a human's bones? Can I steal a person's strength and splice it into a Feruchemist's pewtermind? Can I steal a memory from a Feruchemist's coppermind and staple it into a person's mind (and would that memory decay over time)?

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1 hour ago, ShardlessVessel said:

This isn't going to be a full-fledged theory, but rather some thoughts that I've been having for a while. I was looking up some details on Feruchemy for tabletop gaming purposes (I could find no conclusive answer as to whether it has to be snapped like Allomancy), and I stumbled upon this WOB that gave me an implication and reminded me of an idea I had.

Here's the WOB: https://wob.coppermind.net/events/90/#e4620

The Implication

 

The parts that got my attention were these:

"Piercing someone's body with Invested metal can have weird effects all through the Cosmere"

"ripping off a piece of a person's soul using an un-Invested spike to Invest it and create one is different"

"For instance if you've got a spike that's Invested and you stick it into a Kandra on Scadrial it will still work as an Invested Hemalurgic spike"

The implication is that any Invested spike can be used for Hemalurgic purposes, including such things as metalminds, Lashed metals, Forged metals or otherwise Invested metals that are inserted in the body. Can anybody point me to a WOB that categorically denies that you can use a metalmind as a spike?

The Idea

My other idea is far-fetched, though I'm not entirely certain whether it's more or less crazy than what I implied above.

Here's my thought process: objects have minds. They have a Cognitive aspect, and they're aware. They know what they are, they remember what they were, and they can be Connected to people, places, other objects, and more. Objects must have a spiritweb, though it may be rudimentary.

Hemalurgy works by altering a spiritweb. If you rip off a piece of a person's spiritweb and staple it to someone else, the latter person becomes a little more like the former person in some way, though the process may twist them into something unnatural.

What if you took a piece of a person's spiritweb and stapled it into someTHING else? Say I steal a Coinshot's alomantic ability, take the bloody spike from his chest and stab it into a bracelet? Can I transfer the allomantic ability to the bracelet? Can I take the density of steel and splice it into a human's bones? Can I steal a person's strength and splice it into a Feruchemist's pewtermind? Can I steal a memory from a Feruchemist's coppermind and staple it into a person's mind (and would that memory decay over time)?

I'm not sure that this is how Hemalurgy works.

Feruchemical metalminds, I believe, would be less likely to cause infections in someone who was spiked by them, as they are invested, but they wouldn't likely be able to grant abilities to someone who was pierced by them, as that's not really what they do; Hemalurgy works by removing a functional piece of someone's spiritweb, and then allows you to graft it to someone else. Feruchemical objects store investiture, which when tapped enhances them in some way.

I don't think that you could give most objects, even a Feruchemically charged one, a Hemalurgically charged spike and expect anything to happen, as I don't believe that they have enough of a spiritweb or Identity to interact with it in any meaningful way. I believe that there is a WoB saying that if an AI were to exist in the cosmere that it would be spike-able, so that leads me to conclude that maybe you could grant Hemalurgic spikes to awakened objects, but ones made of metal, like Nightblood, would bring a more practical issue in that they need to be pierced by the metal in order for their spiritweb to be effected, but that's probably going to be hard to work with for obvious reasons.

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ccstat

Vasher uses Awakening in a very interesting way, off-stage, to modify the memories of the girl he rescues. Can Hemalurgy do the same thing if used carefully?

Brandon Sanderson

*long pause* No, I don't really think that it can. Nobody has asked that before, but just looking at the way the magics work, I don't think that is something that Hemalurgy is capable of doing.

This quote here pretty much says that memory isn't something that can be transferred Hemalurgically; perhaps it is too much of a cognitive quality and not enough spiritual.

I do think that you could modify someone's bones to become stronger and have an increased density, but that would require expert skill and knowledge of Hemalurgy to work, and there would likely be some nasty side effects, such as other unwanted mutations.

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I think you can steal only from living beings. Living in our sense. Yes, in Cosmere all things are in some sense alive (they have Spiritual Ideal, and Cognitive Aspect, mean way how they are seing by all around them), because they are made from Investiture (Matter, Energy and Investiture are the same thing, but in varius stages, like in our Universe Matter and Energy are the same in some sense) and Investiture wants to be alive, but they are not consider being alive, or seing as alive - and this is very important thing in Cosmere. Wall is Wall, not bunch of bricks, because has purpose to being Wall and people around see those bricks as Wall.

But if machine will be made advanced enough to be cosidered Inteligent or Sentient by people around, this is different story.

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DrogaKrolow.pl interview (March 17, 2017)
#28 Share Copy
 
Play/Pause
 

DrogaKrolow

Sentient machines, artificial intelligence. Would they be able to use Investiture? Or not? How would that work?

Brandon Sanderson

So, define "use Investiture". Like, there's a lot of different ways to quote-unquote use Investiture.

DrogaKrolow

OK, I don't mean the medallions but like if I go and peek into the Spiritual Realm and I look at the machine, do I see Investiture inside it? The Connections to the Shards and so on?

Brandon Sanderson

Chances are good that you will. But I have to add a big asterisk to that, it's gonna depend on so many factors. But consciousness in the cosmere is directly tied to  Investiture. And creating a machine in many ways cosmerelogically is not that different from creating a child.

DrogaKrolow

Okay... Interesting.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. I'll just leave it there.

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Stormlight Three Update #4 (Oct. 5, 2016)
#216 Oct. 5, 2016 Share Copy
 
 

NeedsAdjustment

You've said before that if a sentient computer were developed, it would call a soul into itself. Could it be Hemalurgically spiked?

Brandon Sanderson

Theoretically, yes, but I have no idea yet how the logistics of that would work.

And no, you cant turn spike into bracelet. Back. You can, because it is still metal, you can form it. But to work, you still need to have this spike in specific bindpoint. So no to spiking something without those points, like freaking chair (but Awakened Wooden Chair? Who knows...). Invested Spike refers more to the fact you can use them additionaly with other magic (as Metalminds, for example).

2 hours ago, ShardlessVessel said:

Can I steal a memory from a Feruchemist's coppermind and staple it into a person's mind (and would that memory decay over time)?

You can steal memory from Feruchemist himself, I think. Dont think you can steal from coppermind.

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Hemalurgy works by removing a functional piece of someone's spiritweb, and then allows you to graft it to someone else.

That's what I'm getting at: can there be applications of Hemalurgy that we are completely unaware of because the characters haven't figured them out yet? Brandon has said that most magic systems can be hacked together, so maybe you can "trick" the metalmind into acting as a Hemalurgic spike, similarly to how you can "trick" Allomancy into giving Feruchemical power (compounding) or a Returned can feed on Stormlight instead of Breaths.

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I believe that there is a WoB saying that if an AI were to exist in the cosmere that it would be spike-able, so that leads me to conclude that maybe you could grant Hemalurgic spikes to awakened objects,

Good point. Specifying that an AI can be spiked may imply that a regular object is not sentient enough to be spiked. Looking at it another way, however, the AI is not really the object itself, but an artificial spren inhabiting a machine.

Quote

This quote here pretty much says that memory isn't something that can be transferred Hemalurgically; perhaps it is too much of a cognitive quality and not enough spiritual.

That's good to know, but I want to add an asterisk here: in Rhythm of War, we see memories stored in Breaths being destroyed (by destroying/removing the Breaths holding those memories);  once the memory is bound in Investiture, such as Breaths or a metalmind, maybe it can be manipulated by Hemalurgy as well.

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I do think that you could modify someone's bones to become stronger and have an increased density, but that would require expert skill and knowledge of Hemalurgy to work, and there would likely be some nasty side effects, such as other unwanted mutations.

I am certain that it's possible - that's not too far from the process of making a koloss or a kandra with the blessing of Potency, I think. The absurd bit that I'm suggesting is taking the strength of something like a steel bar and giving it to a human. Perhaps it's not possible for regular objects, but maybe Invested objects can be spiked. Though as you mention, it would be a challenge to shove a spike into something made of metal.

 

Sorry if I sound aggressive with all the quoting, by the way. It's not meant that way.

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The "any Invested metal" quote may be using the word 'Hemalurgy' in a wider sense than the specific sixteen+god metals powers. There's a WoB that what is done to capture Jezrien's soul/cognitive shadow on Roshar is arguably Hemalurgy (some in-world cosmere scholars would classify it that way, it's at least using a similar cosmere mechanic).

That might also explain Ruin's influence on the Lord Ruler. The WOB says that his metalminds were his spikes. Perhaps that means they weren't actually Hemalurgically charged in the usual "kill someone and steal part of their soul" sense - TLR didn't really need to add more powers to himself - but simply that Invested metalminds stuck into him (to protect them from Allomantic Pushes/Pulls) 'opened up' his soul to Ruin's influence in a Hemalurgy-type way.

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10 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

The "any Invested metal" quote may be using the word 'Hemalurgy' in a wider sense than the specific sixteen+god metals powers. There's a WoB that what is done to capture Jezrien's soul/cognitive shadow on Roshar is arguably Hemalurgy (some in-world cosmere scholars would classify it that way, it's at least using a similar cosmere mechanic).

That's a really good point. Hemalurgy can be used (as a term) in a broader way than just stapling spiritwebs together; I may have been distracted by my own limited thinking in my original post.

10 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

That might also explain Ruin's influence on the Lord Ruler. The WOB says that his metalminds were his spikes. Perhaps that means they weren't actually Hemalurgically charged in the usual "kill someone and steal part of their soul" sense - TLR didn't really need to add more powers to himself - but simply that Invested metalminds stuck into him (to protect them from Allomantic Pushes/Pulls) 'opened up' his soul to Ruin's influence in a Hemalurgy-type way.

This makes me think of Miles Hundredlives. His goldminds were piercings, stabbed into his body so he could be compounding all the time. Could this have allowed Trell to influence his mind, even though they weren't "proper" Hemalurgic spikes (that we know, anyway)? But that's a conversation for another thread, I think.

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As pointed out in the first response, I don't think most objects - ie a bracelet - have enough of a spiritweb to be useful regarding hemalurgy.  Aside from that:

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Master_Moridin

What is the relationship between blood and the Spiritual Realm? (Since Hemalurgy needs blood to graft the sDNA in a spike into someone else's sDNA)

Brandon Sanderson

The blood being in motion is part of it.

17th Shard Forum Q&A (Sept. 28, 2012)
Quote

Trae Cooper (paraphrased)

Why are Invested objects like metalminds and Hemalurgic spikes able to be Pushed and Pulled on, but Shardblades and Shardplate, which are also invested, are not susceptible to Pushing and Pulling?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

There were a few concepts that he outlined in answering this question.

1.) The ability to Push/Pull an Invested object is predicated to the amount/power of the Investiture.

2.) Further, Invested objects also gain resistance to pulling/pushing based on proximity to soul possibly via the soul. An example given is that a Hemalurgic spike touches the blood of the person, and from there is now part of both the Spiritual Realm and the Physical Realm. This provides what Brandon termed a kind of "soul interference," based on its proximity to the soul.

This further explains why Vin required more than normal power to Push/Pull the metalminds from the Lord Ruler, because of their proximity to his soul, via the Spiritual Realm.

3.) The amount of Investiture is relatively low on Scadrial, whereas worlds like Sel and Roshar are pushing around "high power" according to Brandon. I interpreted this to mean that Hemalurgic spikes and metalminds have low amounts of Investiture compared to Shardplate and Shardblades.

Brandon said that theoretically you can Push/Pull Shardblades and Shardplates but you would need to wield an incredible amount of power. One example he gave that could so such as a thing is that if you were a Mistborn wielding the full power of the Well of Ascension, you could Push/Pull Shardblades/Plate.

DragonCon 2012 (Sept. 4, 2012)

given these two quotes it seems like blood, or more generally, something important needs to be present to link the spike to the spiritweb.  Blood i guess has enough import to be that go-between.  This does raise the question of how something like an AI could be spiked, however.  Maybe they have some human equivalent in shadesmar like spren, or perhaps jamming a spike through an AI's CPU is enough lol.

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So I was looking up a WoB that I vaguely remembered that it wasn't blood specifically as what the concept of the blood was. I am explaining it badly, which is why i was looking for it. I have not found it yet, but the reason I am posting is while I was searching for it, I stumbled across this WoB I never saw before, that I think would be of interest to this thread.

 

Questioner (paraphrased)

can you manufacture spiritweb patterns, like artifiical hemalurgy

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

yes, they don't know how, but yes

Dragonsteel Mini-Con 2021 (Nov. 22, 2021)
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Is this the one you're looking for?  It was the only one I could find in reference to blood that specified we / the cosmere are disillusioned about the blood-spike connection in some way.

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Questioner

Would it be possible to make Hemalurgic dental fillings? If there were a mad-scientist dentist?

Brandon Sanderson

I've thought about this. I think that would be possible, but for Hemalurgy to really work I need it to...it doesn't actually have to be touching the blood, despite what they think. But I think your average dental filling is not going deep enough...

Questioner

Root canal!

Brandon Sanderson

*Continues* But yeah, you could make it work.

Legion Release Party (Sept. 19, 2018)

My snap thought is that since blood is in some ways seen as the essence of our life, it may have some connection to the spirit and sDNA?  For example, perhaps to give a singer a viable hemalurgic spike, maybe it would need to pierce their gemheart, as they seem to see those as their spiritual center?  Were there to exist some bloodless creature out in the cosmere, theres gotta be some way for it to be spiked, so some (cosmerologically) equivalent but alternative thing must work in place of blood, right?

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22 minutes ago, Anomander Rake said:

Is this the one you're looking for?  It was the only one I could find in reference to blood that specified we / the cosmere are disillusioned about the blood-spike connection in some way.

My snap thought is that since blood is in some ways seen as the essence of our life, it may have some connection to the spirit and sDNA?  For example, perhaps to give a singer a viable hemalurgic spike, maybe it would need to pierce their gemheart, as they seem to see those as their spiritual center?  Were there to exist some bloodless creature out in the cosmere, theres gotta be some way for it to be spiked, so some (cosmerologically) equivalent but alternative thing must work in place of blood, right?

So I qualify this by saying I am going on my recollection as I have not located it yet, but your post might help me as you reminded me it had to do with spren. How they don't technically have blood even on the cognitive side but the necessity of having a "body" to pierce that then reached that point? Sorry having trouble recalling the exact wording. Maybe including spren in my search will help locate it. 

 

edit: this may be the one I was thinking of, though it does leave kind of vague whether or not spren have "blood" in the cognitive realm. Just that they have more a physical form that can be used on and that there are "ways" to get it out if you know what you are doing. 

 

Mr. Suit

Can spren - like Syl - be pierced by hemalurgic spike? Will it give some effect?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. A spren can be pierced by Invested metal…

Oversleep

Could it be spiked?

Brandon Sanderson

Could a spike be used to give abilities to spren? That’s not going to work really well.

Oversleep

Could you steal from a spren?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, you could steal the Investiture of a spren. Any Investiture can be used in a spike if you know what you’re doing. It’s actually not that hard to use one on a spren.

Oversleep

Because I thought you said Hemalurgy needs moving blood.

Brandon Sanderson

It needs, uh, yeah… there are places where spren have more physical form, more tangible form.

Questioner

Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

No, no, no, not Roshar.

Questioner

The Cognitive Realm on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, if you go to the Cognitive Realm on Roshar the spren act differently than they do.

Oversleep

So you could spike in the Cognitive Realm?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah I’ll leave a RAFO with you on that. That’s your fifth one. So there are ways to get any Investiture into Hemalurgy if you know what you’re doing. But yeah this is not something that would be a common use for Hemalurgy. Let’s just say that.

Oversleep

We do not concern ourselves with common uses.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I know you don’t. But yeah Hemalurgy, when you’re spiking into somebody you… you’ll see when we get around to it.

Kraków signing (March 21, 2017) Edited by Pathfinder
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4 hours ago, Anomander Rake said:

Is this the one you're looking for?  It was the only one I could find in reference to blood that specified we / the cosmere are disillusioned about the blood-spike connection in some way.

My snap thought is that since blood is in some ways seen as the essence of our life, it may have some connection to the spirit and sDNA?

I agree that's why blood matters. Perhaps blood is needed if the spike isn't otherwise deep in the body (e.g. earrings)?

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3 minutes ago, cometaryorbit said:

I agree that's why blood matters. Perhaps blood is needed if the spike isn't otherwise deep in the body (e.g. earrings)?

So what I keep running into, is I believe there is a difference in necessity depending on if you are conducting hermalurgy, as in stabbing someone with a spike, versus maintaining hemalurgy, as in keeping a charge fresh in a spike. There is a WoB that you could take a hunk of steak, as in the meat, and drive a spike into it, and that would convince the spike enough that it is in a body so as for the charge not to decay. No blood needed. But then there are WoB that say being in contact with flowing blood is what lets the stealing of an attribute possible, yet stagnant blood is suffice enough to maintain the charge. 

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12 minutes ago, Pathfinder said:

So what I keep running into, is I believe there is a difference in necessity depending on if you are conducting hermalurgy, as in stabbing someone with a spike, versus maintaining hemalurgy, as in keeping a charge fresh in a spike. There is a WoB that you could take a hunk of steak, as in the meat, and drive a spike into it, and that would convince the spike enough that it is in a body so as for the charge not to decay. No blood needed. But then there are WoB that say being in contact with flowing blood is what lets the stealing of an attribute possible, yet stagnant blood is suffice enough to maintain the charge. 

Maybe there are actually 3 levels of "in the body" needed (stealing power from original owner vs. granting power to recipient vs. just preventing hemalurgic decay)?

Vin's earring is granting power, not stealing power, and it was probably in contact with blood at the beginning, but a pierced ear heals so there is no continuing contact with blood.

Or maybe there are just two levels (stealing power vs. everything else), and a steak or a jar of blood just can't meaningfully gain a power?

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7 minutes ago, cometaryorbit said:

Maybe there are actually 3 levels of "in the body" needed (stealing power from original owner vs. granting power to recipient vs. just preventing hemalurgic decay)?

Vin's earring is granting power, not stealing power, and it was probably in contact with blood at the beginning, but a pierced ear heals so there is no continuing contact with blood.

Or maybe there are just two levels (stealing power vs. everything else), and a steak or a jar of blood just can't meaningfully gain a power?

Honestly I have no clue. As you said, the earring no longer has contact with blood, and Vin has removed it, and put it back in. So then the question is, is it because it was used on her originally? And that is why it still grants the power? So since the meat or blood was not given the hemalurgic ability to start with, it could not get it just from the spike being within it. Or since my ears are pierced unrelated to hemalurgy, if I were to place her earring in my ear, would I gain the ability? My instinct is to say I would not. 

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Vin's earring is an especially interesting case, as the spike is made of bronze, but the earring itself is gilded (?) with silver, so it may be that the spike itself never touched blood, or a person's flesh, in the first place. The spike is stated to have lost some of the silver coating "years ago" (before or after it was used on her sister?), though.

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55 minutes ago, cometaryorbit said:

I agree that's why blood matters. Perhaps blood is needed if the spike isn't otherwise deep in the body (e.g. earrings)?

A quick google search tells me there are no blood vessels in cartilage, which should mean Vin's earing doesn't touch blood, although it is still seen as actively spiking her and granting her the enhanced bronze.  I assume that, despite the spike not being in contact with moving blood or surrounded by blood or aluminum, the spike being active (granting power) prevents decay.

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29 minutes ago, Pathfinder said:

Honestly I have no clue. As you said, the earring no longer has contact with blood, and Vin has removed it, and put it back in. So then the question is, is it because it was used on her originally? And that is why it still grants the power? So since the meat or blood was not given the hemalurgic ability to start with, it could not get it just from the spike being within it. Or since my ears are pierced unrelated to hemalurgy, if I were to place her earring in my ear, would I gain the ability? My instinct is to say I would not. 

A hemalurgic spike not in contact with moving blood, nor surrounded by blood or aluminum will decay (lose power) over time, though at a decreasing rate like the half lives of radioactive elements.  If you were to put the spike in your ear, it would grant you allomantic bronze, though the longer it had been out of anyone's ear, the weaker it would be.

24 minutes ago, ShardlessVessel said:

Vin's earring is an especially interesting case, as the spike is made of bronze, but the earring itself is gilded (?) with silver, so it may be that the spike itself never touched blood, or a person's flesh, in the first place. The spike is stated to have lost some of the silver coating "years ago" (before or after it was used on her sister?), though.

The spike just grant's allomantic bronze.  It was used to kill her sister, as seeker.

Edited by Anomander Rake
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Just now, Anomander Rake said:

The spike just grab's allomantic bronze.  It was used to kill her sister, as seeker.

I know. What I mean is that to steal allomantic bronze, you need a bronze spike. That means piercing the victim with a piece of bronze, then placing that same piece of bronze into the receiver's body. If the earring is coated in silver and the coating was intact at the time of the stealing, the bronze would not have touched Vin's sister's blood (or her body at all), meaning you do not need direct contact between the spike and the person to perform Hemalurgy.

How this information might be useful, I am not sure right now, but it stuck out to me when I was rereading recently.

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Maybe the earring was only mostly coated in silver, but the tip was not? Ruin was influencing Vin's mother, she could have worn the silver off the tip...

34 minutes ago, Anomander Rake said:

A quick google search tells me there are no blood vessels in cartilage, which should mean Vin's earing doesn't touch blood, although it is still seen as actively spiking her and granting her the enhanced bronze.  I assume that, despite the spike not being in contact with moving blood or surrounded by blood or aluminum, the spike being active (granting power) prevents decay.

Hmm, so are regular real-world ear piercings bloodless?

Perhaps the moving blood bit is only really critical for stealing power, it just has to be 'in the body' at the right bind point to grant power?

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Here is the explanation for the silver thing:

Spoiler

Brandon Sanderson

Vin Gets Her Earring Back

Getting Vin's earring back to her proved a logistical problem here, perhaps one of the biggest puzzles in the entire book for me. If I pulled the earring, then Ruin couldn't talk to her, and I couldn't include the scenes of her and Ruin in jail. I felt they were very important—both to make good use of Vin's time while imprisoned, and to get across useful information about the nature of Ruin—his goals, his motivations.

And so, I needed to have Yomen give the earring back. But why? Why would he give a piece of metal to an Allomancer? Vin's reasoning in this chapter is the best I could come up with. Yes, Yomen has atium, ready to burn it. He is, indeed, trying to spring any traps Vin has ready. In fact, once he had her taken away, he followed a distance behind and waited by her cell for the rest of the day, expecting her to try something. When she didn't, he was rather confused.

The earring also presented a problem in that in the original drafts of book one, silver was an Allomantic metal. I later changed silver to tin and played with what the metals did. However, I didn't have the specifics of Hemalurgy down. And so, when I got this book, I worried that her earring would be the wrong metal. Hence the silver plating explanation, as I worried that I'd forgotten or missed some instances in book one where I mentioned the earring being silver. (I tried to cut all references to its actual metal, so that I would be open to build Hemalurgy as I saw fit.)

Notice that Ruin's voice doesn't come to her until after she puts the earring back in. As she points out later, his telling her to kill isn't as specific as she's interpreting it. He's just sending her a general feeling that she should kill and destroy; his attention is elsewhere at the moment, watching what Spook is doing.

The Hero of Ages Annotations (Jan. 14, 2010)

 

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I think a very important thing that people seem to have forgotten is that an invested object is resistant to other forms of investiture and I can't find that quote anywhere, but I have seen it mentioned many times.

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